Opinions Sept. 19, 2011

September 19, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no opinions from Indiana courts at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
John Haegert v. Margaret McMullan
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Margaret McMullan in John Haegert’s action alleging defamation, tortious breach of his employment contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Haegert failed to show how he was injured by the contents of McMullan’s file as his termination was based only upon an incident involving McMullan. There is not properly designated evidence in the record that McMullan intended to cause Haegert emotional distress.

John Haegert v. University of Evansville
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment for the University of Evansville in John Haegert’s action alleging that the school’s decision to fire him for violation of its sexual harassment policy was a breach of his tenure contract. The university did not satisfy the burden of proof prior to terminating Haegert’s employment that he had committed sexual harassment in the form of hostile work environment. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Vaidik dissents.  

A.J. v. Logansport State Hospital
Mental health. Affirms finding that A.J. is mentally ill and dangerous and the grant of the commitment petition. Logansport State Hospital may be considered a community mental health center for the purpose of satisfying the statutory report requirement; the state’s Exhibit 1 was admissible as it constituted both a statement made for purposes of medical diagnosis and a report made in the course of a regularly conducted business activity; there was sufficient evidence that A.J. is dangerous; and the trial court’s consideration of competency restoration services and the probability that he will attain competency did not violate his due process rights. Judge Mathias concurs with separate opinion.

John M. Brewer and Susan B. Brewer v. Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict ruling against the Brewers on their action for false arrest and excessive force allegedly used against John Brewer during a routine inspection of their bar by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. Brewer wasn’t prejudiced by the exclusion of his purported expert’s testimony. The excise police had probable cause to arrest Brewer and the trial court acted within its discretion in giving Final Instruction No. 15 to the jury.

Michael R. Flanders v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief in part. Flanders’ trial and appellate counsel were not ineffective. Reveres denial of petition regarding Flanders’ sexually violent predator status. The 2007 amendment that eliminated his eligibility to petition the court for termination of his SVP status is an ex post facto law that is unconstitutional as applied to him. This violation can be remedied by reinstating his eligibility to petition for a change in status after his initial 10-year requirement to register has passed.

Judy Fratter, et al. v. Stanley Rice, Larry Ratts, M.D.

Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict in favor of Rice and Dr. Ratts in a medical malpractice and negligence complaint. Judy Fratter is not entitled to a new trial. The trial court properly read the relatively new Indiana Model Civil Jury Instruction that defines “responsible cause” to the jury, rather than the Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction regarding proximate cause.

Bruce Stansberry v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor attempted resisting law enforcement and remands with instructions. Stansberry’s conviction lacked a finding of proof on the element of resistance, obstruction, or interference. Because the decision to revoke his probation and placement in community corrections was predicated upon this conviction, this ruling must also be reversed.

Vaughn Reeves, Sr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentences for nine counts of Class C felony aiding, inducing, or causing securities fraud. Concludes that for all nine counts for which Reeves was convicted, evidence of transactions prior to June 30, 2004, was admissible under the common scheme or plan exception to Rule 404(b).

DMS Real Estate, LLC v. Board of Zoning Appeals of the City of Terre Haute, Indiana (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Terre Haute BZA on DMS Real Estate’s petition for writ of certiorari and the denial by the BZA of DMS Real Estate’s special use approval petition.

Dwayne E. Gray v. Safeguard Real Estate Properties (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Safeguard Real Estate Properties in Gray’s suit alleging damages to his property by a third party after Safeguard hired them to winterize the vacant property.

J.M. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and T.C. (NFP)
Agency appeal. Reverses Review Board’s reversal of the grant of benefits to J.M.

Macklin Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Marcus D. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Hunter O. Learning v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Evan J. Erickson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, enhanced by Erickson’s admission that he is a habitual substance offender.

Jeffrey Dean Washington v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Vernon D. Scott v. David Merchant (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of police officer Merchant in Scott’s suit alleging negligence following a car accident.

Kyle J. Bonebright v. Lori A. Bonebright (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms interpretation of settlement agreement as transferring to Lori Bonebright the entirety of Kyle Bonebright’s deferred compensation account as of Nov. 4, 2011.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.



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