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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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)
Criminal. Affirms order Preston serve seven years of previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction.

Jonathan R. Stephens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft.

Kevin Ferguson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
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)
Juvenile. Affirms order awarding custody to father. Father is not entitled to appellate attorney fees.

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

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

Rochelle M. Gibler v. Discover Bank (NFP)
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)
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits.

Malinda Diaz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
Civil. Affirms order granting a preliminary injunction to the Hurfords.

William Singleton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?