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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. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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