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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
46S04-1105-CT-284
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
29S02-1110-PL-598
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
49S00-1201-PL-15
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
38S02-1110-CV-608
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
49S02-1106-CV-364
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
55S01-1107-CR-444
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
53A05-1106-CR-288
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
16A05-1007-PC-439
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
49A05-1104-MI-164
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)
49A02-1109-CR-450
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

John W. Kimbrough v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1106-CR-328
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. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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