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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 like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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