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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
82A04-1008-CT-470
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
82A01-1008-PL-369
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
66A05-1012-MH-805
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
49A02-1011-CT-1276
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
48A02-1009-PC-1019
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.

53A04-1101-CT-10
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
49A04-1102-CR-75
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
77A01-1012-CR-646
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)
84A04-1009-PL-617
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)
49A02-1102-PL-185
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)
93A02-1102-EX-146
Agency appeal. Reverses Review Board’s reversal of the grant of benefits to J.M.

Macklin Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1103-PC-331
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Marcus D. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A04-1103-CR-93
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Hunter O. Learning v. State of Indiana (NFP)
54A04-1102-CR-74
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Evan J. Erickson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A05-1104-CR-212
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)
65A05-1101-PC-65
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Vernon D. Scott v. David Merchant (NFP)
10A01-1012-CT-639
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)
86A03-1104-DR-153
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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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  4. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

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