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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.
10-1521
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
28S01-1102-CV-78
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
63A04-1010-PL-644
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
45A03-1007-CP-369
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
10A01-1005-PL-217
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
49A02-1012-CT-1289
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)
49A05-1101-DR-28
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)
79A02-1012-CR-1440
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of N.S. and A.S.; A.L. v. IDCS (NFP)
49A02-1102-JT-206
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Cordaro Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1012-CR-1410
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)
30A01-1012-PL-650
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Every Meadows’ motion to correct error.

Addison Pijnapples v. State of Indiana (NFP)
38A05-1008-CR-510
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of K.T.; K.K.T. v. IDCS (NFP)
71A02-1103-JT-313
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Ronnie Harness v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1012-CR-770
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences for Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting.

Brent Turner v. Jody (Turner) Bruce (NFP)
30A01-1102-DR-61
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)
49A02-1012-CR-1300
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony possession of cocaine.

Michael J. Stohler v. Mary Anne Stohler (NFP)
48A04-1101-DR-51
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)

18A04-1103-PC-176
Post conviction. Reverses summary dismissal of petition for post-conviction relief.

Mitchell Lynn v. Janet S. Greer and James L. Greer (NFP)
45A05-1102-PL-83
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)
02A03-1101-JT-67
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Adrian F. Cole v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1103-PC-348
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. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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