Opinions Sept. 15, 2011

September 15, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cheryl A. Burns v. Orthoteck Inc. Employees’ Pension Plan and Trust, et al.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms finding that Cheryl Burns’ consent to designate her husband’s three sons as beneficiaries was valid and affirms the denial of her claim for benefits. The unusual circumstances of the case lead to the conclusion that the pension plan was within its discretion to find that Dr. Burns, as plan representative, verified the authenticity of his wife’s signature on the written consent form and this satisfied 29 U.S.C. 1055’s witness requirement. The plan was also within its discretion to deny Burns’ claim for benefits.

Indiana Supreme Court
Mary Beth Lucas and Perry Lucas v. U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for the C-Bass Mortgage Loan Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006-MH-1
Civil. Affirms denial of the Lucases’ request for a jury trial on their defenses and claims in a foreclosure action. The borrowers’ claims and defenses shall be tried in equity because the core legal questions presented by the borrowers’ defenses and claims are significantly intertwined with the subject matter of the foreclosure. Justices Dickson and Rucker dissent.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Frederick R. Lucas v. Darrin McDonald
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of verified petition for relief from lifetime sex-offender registration requirement. Lucas did not meet his burden of proving that the trial court’s decision is against the logic and effect of all the facts and circumstances of his case.

Board of Works of the City of Lake Station, Indiana, et al. v. I.A.E., Inc., Consulting Engineers
Civil plenary. Affirms jury verdict and the trial court’s rulings in favor of I.A.E. Consulting Engineering in its suit seeking payment from Lake Station on money owed for work completed. There is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that I.A.E. didn’t make a business decision in 1994 to quit working on the project.  Remands with instructions for the trial court to recalculate the prejudgment interest award, using simple interest from the date of I.A.E.’s demand.

City of Jeffersonville, Indiana and City of Jeffersonville Sanitary Sewer Board v. Environmental Management Corporation
Civil plenary. Affirms in part and reverses in part regarding EMC’s complaint stemming from Jeffersonville’s attempt to take over the sewer system. The city did not provide sufficient notice to EMC 90 days before terminating the contract. Reverses summary judgment for EMC on its Open Door claims because EMC should have known that the letters in question were not authorized at a public meeting. Affirms the finding that the city is in contempt of the agreed entry. Remands with instructions to modify the award of attorney fees to reflect only the amount EMC incurred in relation to its contempt complaint and the award of costs to only reflect EMC’s filing fees and statutory witness fees. Affirms reducing EMC’s corporate support expenses from its losses during the calculation of EMC’s damages.

National Wine & Spirits, Inc., National Wine & Spirits Corporation, NWS Michigan, Inc., and NWS, LLC v. Ernst & Young, LLP
Civil tort. Reverses grant of Ernst & Young’s second motion for summary judgment on National Wine and Spirits’ action for fraud and deception. The successive motion was proper, but there are genuine issues of material fact and res judicata doesn’t bar National Wine and Spirits’ claims.

Kathryn M. Richardson v. Todd E. Richardson (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms grant of Todd Richardson’s post-dissolution petition to enforce a settlement agreement and the denial of Kathryn Richardson’s motion to correct error.

Linzy C. Motton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of N.S. and A.S.; A.L. v. IDCS (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Cordaro Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for dealing in cocaine as a Class B felony.

Every Meadows LLC v. McKnight Excavating Inc., and Chad McKnight (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Every Meadows’ motion to correct error.

Addison Pijnapples v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of K.T.; K.K.T. v. IDCS (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Ronnie Harness v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences for Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting.

Brent Turner v. Jody (Turner) Bruce (NFP)
Domestic relation. Reverses order finding Brent Turner’s son partially emancipated. Affirms holding Turner in contempt for nonpayment of child support, and that he pay attorney fees to Jody Turner Bruce.

Torrien Jefferson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony possession of cocaine.

Michael J. Stohler v. Mary Anne Stohler (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms determination of Michael Stohler’s income and the apportioning of daughter’s educational expenses. Reverses the apportioning liability for son’s college expenses and educational tax credits received by Mary Anne Stohler. Remands with instructions.  

Timothy L. Hahn v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Post conviction. Reverses summary dismissal of petition for post-conviction relief.

Mitchell Lynn v. Janet S. Greer and James L. Greer (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of the Greers’ motion for judgment on the evidence.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.M. and M.M.; T.H. & A.A.M., Sr. v. IDCS (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Adrian F. Cole v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.