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Opinions Nov. 17, 2011

November 17, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals had issued no Indiana opinions as of IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Spine Group, PC v. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC
93S02-1102-EX-90
Miscellaneous. Reverses decision by Worker’s Compensation Board dismissing as untimely Indiana Spine Group’s application for adjustment of claim. Holds that the Worker’s Compensation Act is silent on the question of the limitation period applicable to a medical provider’s claim seeking payment of outstanding bills for authorized treatment to an employer’s employee. Holds that the limitation period contained in the general statute of limitation controls. Remands for further proceedings consistent with opinion.

D.C. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1102-JV-116
Juvenile. Reverses trial court’s dispositional order imposing a determinate commitment of two years in the Department of Correction, to be followed by an indeterminate commitment, holding that the determinate and indeterminate commitment statutes are unambiguously mutually exclusive. Remands to the court to determine which type of commitment is appropriate.

Indiana Court of Appeals
David Hoffman v. State of Indiana
03A01-1104-CR-180
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of Hoffman’s motion to dismiss, holding that he is not entitled to relief on double jeopardy grounds because the record fails to prove that being demoted by the United States Army was related to his arrest, and the Army action was not equivalent to prosecution by the state.

Jane Doe v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis
49A02-1107-CT-595
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s determination that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis had no legal responsibility to continue paying for Jane Doe’s therapy costs, as the Archdiocese had been paying for counseling voluntarily.

Lindell Patterson v. State of Indiana
49A05-1102-CR-38
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, holding that because an officer was able to discern during a pat-down search that Patterson had marijuana in his pocket, the evidence was admissible under the “plain feel” doctrine.

Shawn Brent v. State of Indiana
34A04-1105-CR-268
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, holding that because police officers did not find marijuana on Brent or see him discard it, no proof exists of actual possession. Reverses Class B misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance based on the state’s concession that it did not prove that claim.

Larry Michael Caraway v. State of Indiana
47A01-1104-CR-162
Criminal. Reverses 65-year sentence for murder, holding that the court abused its discretion when it failed to consider Caraway’s guilty plea as a mitigator. Remands to the court for resentencing consistent with opinion.  

Bren Simon, as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Melvin Simon; and Bren Simon, as Trustee of the Melvin Simon Family Enterprises Trust Agreement v. Deborah J. Simon, Simon Property Group, Inc., et al.
29A05-1012-ES-760
Estate, supervised. Dismisses appeal, holding that because Bren Simon was dismissed as personal representative, she does not have authority to pursue an appeal in a representative capacity.

Cordell M. Wells v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A04-1101-CR-32
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and trial court’s order that Wells serve two years of his previously suspended sentence.

Rissie M. Green v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Covenant Care Indiana (NFP)
93A02-1105-EX-421
Miscellaneous. Affirms decision by Indiana Department of Workforce Development Review Board affirming an administrative law judge’s decision to dismiss Green’s appeal.

Leroy G. Meahl v. Donna J. Meahl (NFP)
36A01-1104-DR-188
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order dissolving marriage.

In Re the Marriage of: Mary K. (Butler) Weir v. Steven J. Butler (NFP)
02A05-1105-DR-287
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s decision in favor of Steven Butler, holding the court properly awarded child support credit for college expense payments.

Ralph Goodman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1105-CR-435
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at 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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