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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. 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

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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