Opinions May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014
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The following opinion was issued by the Indiana Tax Court after IL deadline Friday.
Van Buren Township, Madison County, Boone Township, Madison County, The Summitville Fire Protection Territory v. Department of Local Government Finance
Tax. Affirms Department of Local Government Finance denial of creation of the Summitville Fire Protection Territory because of defects in a legal advertisement to provide notice of a public hearing at which two townships proposed creation of the fire district and its authority to levy taxes. The court rejected arguments that each township published notice of the meeting on the same day in the same newspaper, so therefore a reasonable person would not have been misled by the defective legal notice.

May 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.S.D. of Martinsville v. Rebecca Jackson, individually and as parent and legal guardian of C.J., a Minor, and Kelli Dearth, Individually and as parent and legal guardian of B.K., a Minor
Civil tort. Affirms denial of motion for summary judgment filed by Metropolitan School District of Martinsville. The school district claimed it was immune from liability under the Indiana Torts claims Act after a shooting at Martinsville West Middle School injured two students. The Court of Appeals found the school district was not immune because the school principal’s work in developing the safety plan was not a discretionary function as exempted under the ITCA. Also the Court of Appeals ruled there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the school district breached its duty to protect C.J. and B.K. and whether C.J. was contributorily negligent.

William Hodapp, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony incest, Class C felony incest, Class D felony possession of child pornography and Class A misdemeanor battery.

Russell Lawless v. Leslie Lawless (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms dissolution court’s deviation from the presumed equal division of marital property. Reverses the judgment of the dissolution court with respect to its determination of the amount of the marital debts and the value of the retirement plan. Remands with instructions for the dissolution court to recalculate the total amount of marital debts based upon the dates on which debts were incurred and on whose behalf, and assess the value of the retirement plan’s vested portion as of the date of the dissolution petition. The dissolution court will have discretion in determining the value of any appreciation in that portion of the retirement plan.

Michael Mason v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 65-year sentence for murder.

Gary Sistrunk v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of robbery as a Class B felony. Remands with instructions to enter conviction of criminal confinement as a Class D felony and to impose a sentence consistent therewith, to be served concurrently with his sentence for the robbery conviction. Judge Michael Barnes dissents in part, arguing the robbery and confinement were not separate criminal transgressions. Therefore, the confinement conviction should be vacated entirely.  

Gary Sistrunk v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Remands with instructions to vacate Sistrunk’s conviction of criminal confinement under Count II, and to enter his conviction of robbery under Count III as a Class C felony rather than a Class B felony. Also remands to enter Sistrunk’s convictions of criminal confinement under Counts IV and V as Class D felonies rather than Class B felonies. Finally, remands to revise the sentences to be consistent with the appropriate class level for the felonies and to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed for the robbery conviction. Judge Michael Barnes dissents from the majority view that Counts III, IV and V must be reduced because Sistrunk did not repeatedly use the weapon during the commission of the crime.  

In re the Marriage of: William Adamson v. Pamela Adamson (NFP)
Domestic relation. Reverses and remands the Morgan Circuit Court’s denial of William Adamson’s motion to modify the physical custody of K.A., finding him in contempt of court and requiring him to pay Pamela Adamson’s attorney fees.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions by IL deadline Monday. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions by IL deadline Monday.



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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?