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Opinions March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of Nicholas D. Rice, deceased, by Rick D. Rice and Diane J. Waldrop, co-personal representatives v. Correctional Medical Services, et al.
http://media.ibj.com/Lawyer/websites/opinions/index.php?pdf=2012/march/GK0PUU3D.pdf
09-2804, 10-2389
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judges Robert L. Miller Jr. and Rudy Lozano.
Civil. In No. 09-2804, affirms in part and reverse in part the District Court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants. A material dispute of fact precludes summary judgment on one of the estate’s Section 1983 claims. In No. 10-2389, reverses the District Court’s decision to dismiss the state claims on the basis of collateral estoppel. Remands both cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Indiana Supreme Court
Rebecca D. Kays v. State of Indiana
42S05-1107-CR-441
Criminal. Remands to determine Kays’ ability to pay restitution and a determination of her manner of payment. Finds nothing in 42 U.S.C. Section 407(a) to prohibit a trial court from considering a defendant’s Social Security income when determining the “amount the person can or will be able to pay” in restitution pursuant to Indiana Code 35-38-2-2.3(a)(5).

Henry L. Howard, et al. v. United States
94S00-1106-CQ-333
Certified question. Under Indiana law, railbanking and interim trail use pursuant to 16 U.S.C. Section 1274(d) are not uses within the scope of the easements, and railbanking with interim trail use does not constitute a permissible shifting public use.

Harold J. Klinker v. First Merchants Bank, N.A.
01S04-1107-PL-438
Civil plenary. Reverses judgment on fraud and treble-damages claims because there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether Klinker acted with the requisite criminal intent. Remands for further proceedings.

Hannah Lakes v. Grange Mutual Casualty Company
89S05-1109-CT-531
Civil tort. Holds that the tortfeasor’s vehicle was underinsured under Indiana Code 27-7-5-4(b) because the amount actually paid to Hannah Lakes was less than the per-person limit of liability of the under-insurance endorsement. Remands for further proceedings.

Jerrell D. White v. State of Indiana
15S01-1109-CR-545
Criminal. Holds, under the circumstances of this case, that the defendant did not preserve the issue of whether the trial court properly allowed the habitual offender filing. Also holds that the authenticated and certified evidence was sufficient to uphold the jury’s determination that the defendant had two unrelated adult felony convictions. Justice Sullivan dissents, believing the Court of Appeals opinion to be correct.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Cathy Benko and Gerald Ewing, as Executors of the Estate of Laverna Ewing, Deceased
75A04-1108-CT-440
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Auto-Owners’ motion to strike and summary judgment for Benko and Ewing in their underinsured motorist claim. Concludes that the plain language of the provision would lead an ordinary policyholder to believe that they were required to bring a bodily injury claim against the alleged tortfeasor within the applicable statute of limitations, which occurred in this case. Additionally, if the insurance company intended a different interpretation, it should have stated so in plain English so that their policyholders understand what is necessary to protect their interests and collect their benefits under the policy.

Luke Keys Carson v. State of Indiana
29A04-1106-CR-278
Criminal. Affirms convictions as guilty but mentally ill of two counts of battery by means of a deadly weapon, burglary, and resisting law enforcement. The evidence of Carson’s demeanor during and after the crime supports the determination that he was able to appreciate the wrongfulness of actions at the time of the crimes and therefore was guilty but mentally ill. There is also sufficient evidence to support the burglary conviction.

Curtis A. Bethea v. State of Indiana
18A05-1107-PC-416
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief. Based on Farmer v. State, 772 N.E.2d 1025 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), and Roney v. State, 872 N.E.2d 192 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), appellate counsel could have challenged the trial court’s use of one of the victim’s injuries as an aggravating factor because that was an element of the burglary charge that was dismissed pursuant to Bethea’s plea agreement. Concludes that Farmer and Roney misapplied the precedents on which they relied, and declines to follow those cases. Bethea’s remaining arguments concern minor mischaracterizations in the trial court’s findings which are not significant enough in light of the valid findings to warrant a downward revision. Judge May concurs in result; Judge Brown dissents.

Mitchell Preston v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A04-1108-CR-403
Criminal. Affirms order Preston serve seven years of previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction.

Jonathan R. Stephens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A05-1108-CR-446
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft.

Kevin Ferguson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
53A01-1107-CR-292
Criminal. Affirms conviction following guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine after trial court denied request to withdraw plea.  

James N. Hamilton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A04-1103-CR-134
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class D felony receiving stolen property.  

B.M. v. M.M. and M.R.M., b/n/f M.M. (NFP)
12A02-1107-JP-722
Juvenile. Affirms order awarding custody to father. Father is not entitled to appellate attorney fees.

Clarence A. Martin, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1008-PC-497
Post conviction. Dismisses appeal of denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Thomas Eaton, et al. v. City of Gary, et al. (NFP)
45A04-1106-MI-312
Miscellaneous. Affirms order denying Eaton and other appellants’ motion to correct error.

Rochelle M. Gibler v. Discover Bank (NFP)
71A05-1109-CC-500
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Discover Bank upon its breach of contract claim.

R.S. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and M.B. (NFP)
93A02-1107-EX-656
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits.

Malinda Diaz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1109-CR-821
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

Earl R. England and Mary L. England v. Rob E. Hurford and Jennifer M. Hurford (NFP)
50A04-1106-PL-297
Civil. Affirms order granting a preliminary injunction to the Hurfords.

William Singleton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A05-1106-CR-346
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted voluntary manslaughter and remands with instructions to vacate the Class B felony aggravated battery conviction and sentence.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  2. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  3. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  4. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  5. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

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