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Opinions Oct. 14, 2010

October 14, 2010
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The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday.
Indiana Supreme Court
TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc., and Ford Motor Company v. Sally J. Moore, personal representative of the estate of Daniel A. Moore, deceased  
73S05-0909-CV-404
Civil. Reverses allocation of fault to Daniel Moore, Ford Motor Co., nonparty Goodyear Tire, and TRW Vehicle Safety Systems in a wrongful death suit. Reverses judgment of $1.25 million entered against TRW, reverses determination of total damages and remands for retrial to allocate 100 percent of the fault between Moore and Ford and re-determine the total damages subject to fault allocations unless the estate accepts remittitur as specified.

Today’s opinions

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Town of Culver Board of Zoning Appeals v. Roderick J. Ratcliff and Pamela A. Ratcliff
50A03-1004-MI-179
Miscellaneous. Affirms judgment in favor of the Ratcliffs on their petition for writ of certiorari from an adverse decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals. The storage sheds on a landscaped gravel lot supplied with electricity aren’t considered “structures” within the definition of Culver’s zoning ordinances.

Claudette Gee v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC
27A02-1003-MF-304
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms denial of Gee’s motion to set aside the sheriff’s sale of her property. The sheriff complied with Indiana Code Section 32-29-7-3(e)’s requirement that notices of the sale be posted “at the door of the courthouse” when the notice was posted at the temporary court offices instead of the permanent courthouse, which was under renovation.

D.C. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1002-JV-100
Juvenile. Affirms the juvenile court didn’t abuse its discretion in ordering a commitment to the Department of Correction. Reverses order of both a determinate and indeterminate commitment. Because I.C. Section 31-37-19-10 is applicable to D.C., he is subject to a determinate commitment of up to 2 years in an authorized facility. Remands to issue a new dispositional order.

In the Matter of the Adoption of K.F. and T.F.; B.F. v. L.F.
47A04-1006-AD-373
Adoption. Affirms grant of stepmother L.F.’s petition for adoption of B.F.’s minor children. The evidence is sufficient to show mother had the ability to pay child support but did not, and that she is unfit to be a parent.

M.R., M.R., F.R., and K.R., Alleged to be CHINS; F.T. v. IDCS and Child Advocates
49A05-1002-JC-140
Juvenile. Vacates parental participation decree with regard to the alleged father of one of the children and remands for further proceedings. F.T.’s paternity of F.R. has never been established and certain procedural prerequisites for a parental participation decree weren’t followed.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel of J.P., et al; A.P. and A.P. v. I.D.C.S. and Child Advocates (NFP)
49A02-1003-JT-385
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Lisa A. Fowler v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A04-1003-CR-171
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a youth program center as a Class B felony.

Jarrod S. Snyder v. State of Indiana (NFP)
57A05-1003-CR-155
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order Snyder serve the entire suspended portion of his sentence.

Mark Thomas v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1002-CR-193
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class C felony burglary, Class D felony attempted theft, Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief, and determination Thomas is a habitual offender.

Timothy Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A02-1003-CR-308
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony attempted robbery, Class C felony battery, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

Phyllis A. Merriweather v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1003-CR-428
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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