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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
82S01-1301-CT-19
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.
49A04-1305-PL-210
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
49A05-1305-DR-253
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
88A01-1304-DR-171
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
59A04-1303-MI-103
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
55A01-1303-CR-107
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
10A05-1301-CR-35
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
49A05-1207-CC-340
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

79A02-1303-CR-282
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.
49A02-1306-PL-513
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)
29A02-1212-PL-978
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)
21A01-1303-CR-139
Criminal. Affirms conviction of public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor.

Johnathan Robinson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A05-1304-CR-178
Criminal. Affirms conviction of inhaling toxic vapors as a Class B misdemeanor.
 
Dontay Martin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A05-1303-CR-113
Criminal. Affirms convictions of attempted murder and sentence of 40 years for each of the convictions.
 
Richard R. Hogshire v. Ursula Hoover (NFP)
06A01-1212-DR-557
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)
18A02-1302-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts Class B felony dealing in cocaine.
 
Kasi Ballew v. State of Indiana (NFP)
22A01-1303-CR-141
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Ballew’s probation.
 
Tracy K. Fry and Keith A. Fry v. PHH Mortgage Corp. (NFP)
20A04-1212-MF-628
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of PHH Mortgage Corp.

Laraysha Webb v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1304-CR-341
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)
48A02-1302-PL-148
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)
41A01-1208-MF-352
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)
42A01-1302-PL-88
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. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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