Opinions Nov. 27, 2013

November 27, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Released Nov. 26 after IL deadline:

F.D., G.D., and T.D. b/n/f J.D. and M.D.; and J.D. and M.D., individually v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Evansville Police Dept., and Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part grant of summary judgment in favor of Department of Child Services, Evansville Police Department, and Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s office. In a 3-2 opinion, affirms grant of summary judgment for the police and prosecutor’s office, but reverses grant of summary judgment on the basis of statutory immunity in favor of DCS, holding that DCS did not have immunity under the Tort Claims Act or the child abuse reporting statute for failing to notify the parents of a child whose molestation had resulted in another child’s adjudication as a delinquent. Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote the majority opinion joined by justices Steven David and Robert Rucker. Justice Loretta Rush wrote a dissent joined by Mark Massa that would have affirmed summary judgment on the immunity basis.

Nov. 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Diane S. Brown Bell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. The Bryant Company, Inc.
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of a suit seeking class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters and asserted a right to do so. The court found the plaintiff likely entitled to recovery of the fees, and that at minimum the trial court erred in granting Bryant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. Remands for proceedings, including whether class certification is appropriate.

Glenn Hatmaker v. Betty Hatmaker
Domestic relation. Reverses and remands denial of motions for unsupervised parenting time and modification of support. The trial court abused its discretion in denying the petitions, finding that an order allowing modification of visitation by agreement of the parties is contrary to law, and that the court disregarded evidence that the mother’s income had increased while the father’s income declined. Because the father could not afford the costs associated with supervised parenting time, the court ruled mother may be able to contribute to costs of supervision.

Debra A. Roop v. Dean A. Buchanan
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order that Roop pay the accrued child support obligation to oldest emancipated child to cover Buchanan’s funeral expenses. Reverses the order awarding the remainder of the child support arrearage to the adult children.

Anonymous Physician v. Diana Wininger, Stephen Robertson, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Insurance, and Douglass J. Hill, Panel Chair
Miscellaneous. Reverses denial of physician’s summary judgment motion. Rules Wininger’s complaint for medical malpractice was not timely filed. Although Wininger argues she did not know something may have gone wrong with her foot surgery until she got a second opinion in April 2009, the COA found she knew she should see another doctor in October 2007.  
Joseph Everroad v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of robbery, rejecting an appeal that claimed a ruling limiting the cross-examination of an expert witness’s testimony regarding the location of a cell phone call violated the Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses.

Peter A. Roberts v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s assignment of 305 days actual time served and remands for sentencing. Affirms not awarding Roberts good-time credit for the time he spent on pre-trial home detention.

Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Judy Holcomb, Personal Representative of the Estate of Mable Louis Cochran, Deceased
Civil collection. Reverses and remands for further proceedings. The trial court’s award of attorney fees in an adult wrongful death case involving the Medical Malpractice Act does not accurately reflect either the proper amount of attorney fees or proper allocation of money awarded from the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund. Under the facts the parties have placed before the court, including an agreement regarding the fund’s liability that purported to include no attorney fees as damages, it is impossible to reach a result that is fair to the estate and to its counsel, yet consistent with the statutory 15 percent limitation. Chief Judge Margret Robb dissents.

Jason Deaton v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class A felony child molesting, rejecting claims of prosecutorial misconduct and sufficiency of the evidence. A prosecutor’s comments during jury selection about evidence needed to convict compared to that presented in TV’s “CSI” dramas wasn’t fundamental error, nor was a statement that a victim’s testimony alone is sufficient for a conviction. The court also ruled the state presented evidence sufficient to support the conviction.

Sterling Commercial Credit - Michigan, LLC v. Hammert's Iron Works, Inc.
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment on Sterling’s complaint and Hammert’s counterclaim. Reverses and remands with instructions for trial court to enter summary judgment in favor of Sterling on its complaint as well as Hammert’s counterclaim. Rules promissory estoppel applies and Hammert’s is estopped to deny payment and place payment restrictions on invoices.

Mike Ellis, Debra Ellis, VJJ&A Transport, Inc., Bob Hopkins, Kathleen Hopkins, John Gomes, John Dunn, et al. v. David M. Duree and David M. Durree & Associates, P.C., and John R. Price et al. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Reversed grant of summary judgment in favor of the Duree lawyers on Kapza’s breach of contract claim and remands for further proceedings. Affirms all remaining summary judgment rulings in favor of Duree lawyers. Also affirms summary judgment in favor of the Price lawyers.

Clarence W. Seeley, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor.

Johnathan Robinson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of inhaling toxic vapors as a Class B misdemeanor.
Dontay Martin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of attempted murder and sentence of 40 years for each of the convictions.
Richard R. Hogshire v. Ursula Hoover (NFP)
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s order that Hogshire pay Hoover’s attorneys $15,000 in preliminary fees and costs. Remands for an evidentiary hearing. Judge Bailey concurs in a separate opinion but questions whether the court should address the issue of attorney fees when neither party has filed a motion claiming entitlement.
Terrence J. Douglass v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts Class B felony dealing in cocaine.
Kasi Ballew v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Ballew’s probation.
Tracy K. Fry and Keith A. Fry v. PHH Mortgage Corp. (NFP)
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of PHH Mortgage Corp.

Laraysha Webb v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle without a license.
Pizza King of Elwood v. The Peniel Group, Dollar General Stores, and Elwood Holdings, LLC (NFP)
Civil plenary. Reverses the trial court finding that the defendants have a valid easement on Pizza King’s property.
Kenneth D. Hunter v. E*Trade Bank (NFP)
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of E*Trade Bank.
Mark A. Valdes and James H. Valdes v. Vincennes Building and Safety Commission and the City of Vincennes (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s judgment affirming an order by the City of Vincennes Building and Safety Commission to demolish a hotel owned by Valdes.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court did not submit any opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals did not post any Indiana opinions by IL deadline.



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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?