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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. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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