Opinions March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Tywan D. Griffin v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, ruling the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Griffin committed the charge.

George F. Evans, Jr. v. Peggy A. Evans
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s grant of motion to compel payment in favor of James C. Michael, personal representative for the estate of Peggy A. Evans, pursuant to an amended dissolution decree. States that Peggy’s counsel advised George’s counsel that his pension plan administrator had rejected the qualified domestic relations order (QRDO) from the court, as the QRDO must state that benefits to Peggy would terminate upon her death. Peggy died before she had received a single payment from the QRDO. Michael then filed a motion to compel payment as outlined in the QRDO, or an alternative payment. Judge Riley dissents in part.

Trust of William H. Riddle; Linda Goins v. Patricia Riddle
Trust. Affirms trial court’s ruling that Goins had breached her duties as trustee for William H. Riddle by paying for expenses not allowable under specific provisions of the trust. With respect to the cross-appeal, remands to trial court to determine reasonable trial and appellate attorney fees. Statute allows that if a beneficiary successfully maintains an action to compel a trustee to perform his duties, the beneficiary is entitled to reasonable attorney fees, which includes appellate attorney fees.

Estate of Nathaniel Kappel v. Margaret Kappel
Estate, supervised. Affirms Hendricks Superior Court’s order requiring the estate of Nathaniel Kappel to pay a survivor’s allowance to his widow, Margaret Kappel, stating Margaret’s demand was not untimely, as a surviving spouse is not required to file a demand for payment, and is therefore not subject to the nine-month time period prescribed by Indiana Code Section 29-1-14-1(d).

Sheila K. Granger v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of five counts of child molesting as Class A felonies, three counts of child molesting as Class C felonies and one count of Class D felony child solicitation. While some admitted evidence was not relevant to the case, other items collected from Granger’s house corroborated the testimony of witnesses, and provided sufficient evidence for a jury to base credibility findings. Finds the admission of the irrelevant evidence to be harmless. Reduces her 60-year executed sentence, citing Granger’s lack of a criminal record, her role in the community, and relative lack of substantial physical harm to the victims.

Jerry and Mary Kwolek v. Rodney and Jennifer Swickard
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court’s judgment in favor of Rodney and Jennifer Swickard, stating the trial court erred when it concluded the Swickards were entitled to park on an “ingress-egress” easement in front of Jerry and Mary Kwolek’s garage. An agreement between the couples does not state the Swickards were entitled to use the easement beyond ingress and egress. The Kwoleks later made improvements to the easement, which the trial court had ordered removed. But the appeals court dismissed that order, stating the improvements did not interfere with the Swickards’ ability to access their own property.

Leslie A. McCormick v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery.

D.J. v. Review Board (NFP)
Civil. Dismisses appeal of decision in favor of the city on D.J.’s claim for unemployment insurance benefits, citing noncompliance with the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Samuel D. Manley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony resisting law enforcement and Class C felony causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance in the blood.

James Whitaker, et al. v. Sandra Maskell, et al. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s award of attorney fees to Maskell and other defendants.

Gregory Proffitt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to deny motions for discharge pursuant to Criminal Rule 4(B).

James A. Love, et al. v. Meyer & Najem Construction, LLC (NFP)
Civil tort. Reverses trial court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Meyer & Najem Construction in a suit filed after James was injured.

Ro.C. v. Ry.C. (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order denying mother’s request to relocate to New York with the parties’ children. Dismisses mother’s appeal regarding her motion to modify child support.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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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