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Opinions March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Thursday:
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Leonard Thomas v. Keith Butts, et al.
12-2902
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Vacates dismissal of Thomas’ lawsuit against prison officials alleging deliberate indifference to his epilepsy in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The judge dismissed the suit without determining if Thomas was at fault for not paying the initial filing fee.

Indiana Supreme Court
In re the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of G.P., a Minor Child, and His Mother, J.A. v. Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc.
49S02-1308-JT-558
Juvenile. Vacates judgment terminating J.A.’s parental rights. J.A. was denied her statutory right to counsel during the course of the CHINS proceedings below and those proceedings flowed directly into an action to terminate her parental rights and (in a separate action) adopt out her child.

Howard Justice v. American Family Insurance Company
49S02-1303-PL-221
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of summary judgment to American Family and remands for further proceedings. Concludes Justice is entitled to recover the remaining $25,000 from American Family under the terms of his underinsured motorist policy limit because the set-off using workers’ compensation benefits in his case would reduce the policy below the statutory minimum. Chief Justice Dickson concurs in part.

Friday’s opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals

State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service v. Settlers Life Insurance Company
49A05-1307-PL-365
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of Settlers’ motion for summary judgment in which the court deemed that Settlers’ insurance product did not fall within the statutory confines of the Pre-Need Act. Settlers sells an at-need product that fulfills different needs than a pre-need product, so the trial court correctly granted summary judgment in its favor when it determined that at-need contracts and services do not fall within the scope of the Pre-Need Act.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.D., S.D., and I.D., Minor Children, and D.D., Father v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
53A01-1307-JT-315
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Cleveland Munoz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1307-CR-567
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class C felony child molesting.

Jason Roudebush v. State of Indiana (NFP)
80A04-1301-PC-46
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Beverly K. Oswald v. CNB National Lending, LLC, Bryce A. Bly, Eric Swedenburg and Andrea Swedenburg (NFP)
82A01-1305-CC-223
Civil collection. Affirms order in favor of CNB, Bly and the Swedenburgs that concluded they did not breach the settlement and release agreement. Affirms separate award of attorney fees.

David Lee Robinson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1308-CR-401
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony failure to register as a sex offender.

C.B. v. G.N. (NFP)
18A02-1308-JP-677
Juvenile. Affirms order requiring M.D.B. to assume the surname of his father G.N.

Mary Sparks v. Harborside Nursing Home (NFP)
93A02-1307-EX-616
Agency action. Affirms denial of claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions Friday by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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