Opinions March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
LaPorte Community School Corporation v. Maria Rosales
Civil tort. Reverses and remands for a new trial on the issue of liability only. One of the jury instructions given by the trial court could have misled the jury about a key issue regarding liability in this child wrongful death case. Justice Sullivan dissents.

Randall L. Woodruff, Trustee, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, on Behalf of Legacy Healthcare, Inc.d/b/a New Horizon Develop. Center v. In. Family & Social Serv. Admin., Office of Medicaid Policy & Planning
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court finding that FSSA breached its contract with respect to the remaining pre-decertification claims and awarded New Horizon $93,666.09. It also allowed FSSA an equal amount as a set-off for the receivership costs.

Wednesday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Indiana Tax Court  posted no opinions by IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. International Business Machines Corporation
Civil plenary. Holds that Indiana Code 34-29-2-1 – providing that the governor of the state of Indiana is “privileged from arrest on civil process, and from obeying any subpoena to testify” – operates to preclude a trial court from issuing an order to compel the governor’s deposition in a contract dispute brought by the state of Indiana against a contractor. Justice Sullivan concurs in result.

John Witt, HydroTech Corp, and Mark Shere v. Jay Petroleum, Inc., and Jack R. James
Civil. Affirms trial court order holding John Witt, HydroTech Corp. and attorney Mark Shere in contempt of court for violating the terms of a temporary restraining order. The court order was sufficiently clear and certain to unambiguously direct the cessation of all further activities by Witt, Shere, and Hydrotech at the site. Justices Rucker and Sullivan dissent.

Marion County Auditor, and McCord Investments, LLC v. Sawmill Creek, LLC a/k/a Saw Creek Investments, LLC
Civil. Reverses trial court decision to set aside the tax deed on grounds that the auditor’s effort to notify Sawmill Creek of the tax sale was constitutionally deficient for failing to meet the requirements of due process. The auditor satisfied the due process requirement articulated in Mullane, Dusenbery and Flowers. Justice Rucker dissents.     

Rodney Nicholson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony stalking. Holds that the lag in time between the harassing calls in 2006 and the subsequent single call in 2008 didn’t foreclose the conviction for stalking, particularly since much of the break in time between the calls was due to Nicholson’s incarceration.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael J. Griffin v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction but revises Griffin’s sentence to 45 years. The state produced sufficient evidence to negate Griffin’s claim that he was acting in sudden heat when he killed the victim, and the reckless homicide instruction was properly refused.

Kristine Bunch v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Reverses denial of petition for post-conviction relief and remands for a new trial. The fire victim toxicology evidence does constitute newly discovered evidence and the state’s failure to turn over a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms testing of floor samples violates Brady. Judge Crone dissents.

Bill Musgrave v. Squaw Creek Coal Co. and Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources
Miscellaneous. Affirms order in favor of Squaw Creek Coal Co. and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on SCCC’s petition for judicial review on an order issued by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission administrative law judge vacating the DNR’s decision to release certain portions of SCCC’s reclamation bond on its surface mining permit. The trial court did not err by refusing to dismiss SCCC’s petition even though it did not pay a filing fee and SCCC’s process and service was sufficient. The trial court was correct to conclude that Musgrave is not collaterally estopped from challenging the release of the bond on Permit S-008.

Jody Brewster v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

John W. Kimbrough v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms four convictions of Class A felony child molesting. Reverses sentencing order and remands to the trial court to enter a sentence as outlined in the opinion. Judge Mathias concurs in part and dissents in part.



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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues