Opinions March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012
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Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions by IL deadline.

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Harry Foster III and Linda Foster v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springman.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, holding the Fosters’ failure to produce requested documents was a material breach of their insurance agreement.

Indiana Supreme Court
Jesse J. Harris, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Clarifies a matter Harris presented in his appeal, holding that a person who claims forum-shopping has occurred in a criminal case need not establish prejudice in order to prevail on appeal. Requests the judges of Howard County to draft amendments to Local Rule 29 that clear-up ambiguous areas of the law in order to prevent future challenges.

Indiana Department of State Revenue v. AOL, LLC
Tax appeal. Reverses the tax court’s determination that AOL does not owe sales tax for promotional matters distributed in Indiana. The components acquired from vendors outside of Indiana were used to make CD-ROM packages, and AOL argued that it did not acquire the CD-ROM packages and promotional materials in any retail transactions because it merely purchased assembly and printing services. But the Supreme Court held that because the assembly houses and letter shops were selling at retail, the transactions between AOL and its assembly houses and letter shops constituted retail transactions that triggered Indiana’s use tax once AOL used the property in Indiana.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Harry Kaufmann Motorcars, Inc. v. Schumaker Performance, Inc.
Miscellaneous. Reverses ruling by Johnson Superior Judge Lance Hamner to set aside a Wisconsin court’s default judgment regarding sale of a boat. Appellate court holds that Wisconsin’s long-arm statute and caselaw dictates that the state court had personal jurisdiction on the case. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Company as subrogee of Joseph Koors d/b/a Koors Amoco v. Harleysville Insurance Company
Civil plenary. Reverses Kosciusko Superior Judge Duane Huffer’s decision that granted summary judgment for Harleysville Insurance Company regarding insurance policy coverage pertaining to a service station environmental contamination. Holds that insurance company was not entitled to summary judgment on policy exclusion and questions about notification, and remands for further proceedings.

Jack Messer v. New Albany Police Department
Miscellaneous. Affirms judgment by Floyd Superior Judge Roger Duvall, granting summary judgment for New Albany Police Department and finding there was no issue of fact as to whether police officer Jack Messer’s racially charged remarking to other officers during roll call was considered conduct unbecoming of an officer. That comment provided an appropriate basis for his 30-day suspension. Judge John Baker dissented, finding the department did not meet its burden in proving its interests in operational efficiency outweighed Messer’s First Amendment rights.

Chad M. McLain v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to allow evidence obtained in a search of McLain’s car after his initial traffic stop had been completed. Holds that because the police officer told McLain he was free to go, he was not obligated to agree to the search or answer questions, and no violation of his constitutional rights occurred.

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. and Adoption of J.P.; M.P. and Z.P.; D.P. and G.P. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services and J.H. and T.H. (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms probate court’s denial of paternal grandparents’ petition to adopt J.P. Dismisses without prejudice the court’s decision regarding the foster parents’ adoption petition, because it was neither a final judgment nor an appealable interlocutory order.

Lesnick Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony rape, six counts Class A felony deviate conduct, Class B felony burglary, Class B felony robbery, Class B felony criminal confinement and associated charges.

Rickey Robey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence, holding that the motion was not the appropriate vehicle for Robey to use.

Dominee M. Florence v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Kindred Nursing Centers LTD PTR (NFP)
Civil. Dismisses appeal, due to Florence’s numerous and substantial violations of the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Paul J. Kinnaman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

R.F. and I.A. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights for mother and father.

Andre Gonzalez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses denial of Gonzalez’ petition to remove his sex offender designation, holding that at the time he was sentenced, Indiana law did not require lifetime registration. Remands for removal of his registration.

Rebecca A. Thieling v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony forgery and Class D felony auto theft.

Terrell Ewell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Dismisses case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding Ewell did not timely file his notice of appeal.

Todd Richmond v. Erin Mager (Richmond) (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of father’s petition for change of custody and grant of mother’s petition for modification of father’s parenting time.

B.O. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms J.O.’s placement with the Department of Correction.

Kimberly L. Zapalac v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Dismisses appeal for lack of jurisdiction, as Zapalac committed several crimes and made two plea agreements 12 years ago, before absconding.

Jeffrey S. Pryor v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated.

In Re: The Adoption of T.L.; M.J. v. D.F. and K.F. and Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s dismissal of M.J.’s petition to adopt his half-sister.

Olde York Potato Chips, Inc., ONAP, Inc., and Peter Margie v. Shenolikar Dwarka and Dwarka & Sons, Inc. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Dismisses Olde York’s appeal, holding it does not appear to be an interlocutory appeal that may be brought as of right and would be the subject of an interlocutory appeal only on certification by the trial court and acceptance by appeals court, and that there is no such certification or acceptance in the case.

Dathan Alexander v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.



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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.