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Opinions May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Andrew J. Rogers v. Sigma Chi International Fraternity, Theta Pi of Sigma Chi, Ancil Jackson, Brian Mifflin, Jr., and Joshua Kearby
84A04-1305-CT-224
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Sigma Chi International fraternity, its Terre Haute chapter and Jackson, Mifflin and Kearby on Rogers’ claim the defendants should have protected him from being assaulted at a party. Sigma Chi did not have possession of the premises where Rogers was injured, the defendants had no duty to protect him from the assault, and the International fraternity was not vicariously liable for the acts of the persons at the premises because it had no actual or apparent authority over them.

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of C.P., C.P. v. Community Hospital North/Gallahue Mental Health
49A02-1309-MH-770
Mental health. Affirms 90-day involuntary commitment to Community Hospital North. The psychiatrist’s testimony provided clear and convincing evidence that C.P. was gravely disabled.

Kenneth Griesemer v. State of Indiana
49A04-1308-CR-382
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute. Because the evidence most favorable to the state permits an inference only that the police induced Griesemer’s criminal behavior, but does not contain any evidence permitting an inference that Griesemer was predisposed to commit patronizing a prostitute, entrapment was established as a matter of law. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissents.

Christopher Bell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1309-CR-478
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder and Class C felony conspiracy to commit robbery.

Agav Properties, Avrohem Tkatch, and Elisheva Tkatch v. The City of South Bend and The South Bend Fire Department (NFP)
71A04-1308-PL-396
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of motion to dismiss and motion of summary judgment filed by the city of South Bend and the fire department on claims alleging negligence, intentional interference with a contractual relationship and violation of state and federal constitutional rights.

Town of New Pekin, Indiana v. Gail Stewart and Kermit Stewart (NFP)
88A01-1310-PL-442
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the town’s motion for summary judgment and remands to the trial court for adjudication by the finder of fact.

R & M Construction, Inc., and Lake County Trust Company, as Trustee Under a Trust Agreement Dated May 17, 1989 and Known as Trust No. 1901 v. Twin Lakes Utilities, Inc. (NFP)
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment on R&M's and the trust’s claims and reverses summary judgment to Twin Lakes as to its claim for declaratory judgment. Remands for further proceedings on Twin Lakes' claims.

Michael Nero v. Citimortgage, Inc. (NFP)
52A02-1312-MF-1017
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms entry of summary judgment in favor of Citimortgage in its mortgage foreclosure action.

Adrian Walton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1307-CR-365
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

In re the Marriage of: Carla Weiler v. Kevin P. Weiler (NFP)
45A03-1310-DR-424
Domestic relation. Affirms in part and vacates in part husband’s motion to enforce decree of dissolution of marriage. Remands for the trial court to order the parties to ensure the marital residence is listed for sale.

Ronald DeWayne Thompson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1310-CR-511
Criminal. Affirms denial of request for mistrial.

EMR Consulting, Inc. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Laura Shipp (NFP)
93A02-1308-EX-691
Agency action. Affirms decision to grant Shipp unemployment benefits.

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

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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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