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Opinions Oct. 10, 2013

October 10, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of E.T., D.T., L.T., and Y.T., Minor Children: M.T., v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services and Lake County Court Appointed Special Advocate
45A03-1302-JT-49
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. The mother has not demonstrated that the trial court clearly erred when it determined that continuation of the parent-child relationship with the children poses a threat to their well-being. Nor has she shown that termination is not in the best interest of the children or that the court erred when it determined that adoption is a satisfactory plan following the terminations.

Kevin C. Stone v. Jennifer M. Stone
49A02-1210-DR-820
Domestic relation. Grants rehearing to acknowledge that father did file a reply brief in the case, but affirms original opinion in all respects, including that his supervised visitation argument is moot.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of C.W. (Minor Child), and J.W. (Mother), v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
26A01-1303-JT-113
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. The mother has not shown that she was denied due process in the CHINS proceedings or termination proceedings. The DCS established by clear and convincing evidence the requisite elements to support the termination of parental rights.

Nathan and Deanna Ferguson v. Shiel Sexton Company, Inc., WR Dunkin & Son, Inc., Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve, Inc., et al.
29A05-1301-CT-8
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Poynter Sheet Metal Inc. on the issue of duty in the Fergusons’ negligence action. They sought damages for injuries Nathan Ferguson sustained in a construction accident. The Fergusons failed to establish the trial court erred in granting summary judgment.

Dustin Jack Gifford v. State of Indiana
40A05-1304-CR-197
Criminal. Reverses Class D felony conviction of possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. The state presented insufficient evidence to support the conviction.

John Einhorn and Roxanne Einhorn v. Scott Johnson, Gretchen Johnson, Purdue University Board of Trustees, et al.
50A03-1303-CT-93
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the Einhorns’ complaint for damages alleging negligence. Because John Einhorn was not Purdue’s employee at the time of the accident, his negligence claim against Purdue is not barred by the exclusivity provision of the Worker’s Compensation Act. Purdue and 4-H Fair Association are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law under the Equine Activity Statute. The Johnsons are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law because they did not know or have reason to know that the horse Clu had any dangerous propensities prior to the accident.

Coady Coyote Craddick v. Indiana Department of Correction (NFP)

52A02-1211-MI-942
Miscellaneous. Affirms dismissal of complaint against the DOC alleging it violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Indiana Constitution by classifying Craddick as a sex offender.

Fredrick D. McClure v. State of Indiana (NFP)

18A02-1302-CR-196
Criminal. Affirms trial court determination that McClure’s previously stayed sentence was eight years rather than four years.

Jason Hays v. State of Indiana (NFP)
28A04-1303-CR-109
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in blood causing death.

Joseph A. Kast v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1301-CR-35
Criminal. Affirms 65-year sentence for murder conviction.

Tabatha Murphy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
30A04-1302-CR-82
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony battery with a deadly weapon, Class C felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury and Class A misdemeanor battery.

Ryan Thomas Johnston v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1212-CR-1014
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

David Roy Winters v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1302-CR-41
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class A misdemeanor conversion.

In Re The Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of R.C. and M.C.: Ro.C. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A02-1303-JT-194
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

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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