Supreme Court accepts 5 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken five cases on transfer, including one that presents two issues of first impression on prejudgment interest.

In Kathy Inman v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 41S01-1108-CT-515, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that state statute allows a litigant to receive prejudgment interest in an uninsured motorist case, even when it exceeds insurance policy limits for those types of claims. The appellate court looked at the Tort Prejudgment Interest Statute and cases from other courts to hold that a claim against one’s insurer for underinsured motorist benefits is a civil action arising out of tortious conduct and it’s appropriate to award prejudgment interest under Indiana Code 34-51-4-5.

The judges also looked to other courts for guidance on the issue of prejudgment interest in excess of the policy limits and held an insurer can be required to pay prejudgment interest in excess of uninsured and/or underinsured motorist limits in an action brought by an insured for failure to pay uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage.

The justices also took:

- Jimmie Ernest Jones Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 29S02-1105-CR-511, in which the COA affirmed Jimmie Jones’ conviction of felony murder, holding the trial court didn’t err by refusing his tendered instructions on reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter because evidence suggests Jones knowingly and willingly killed the victim.

- Mickey Cundiff v. State of Indiana, No. 31S05-1108-CR-512, in which the appellate court affirmed Mickey Cundiff’s conviction of Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, finding he wasn’t entitled to a speedy trial pursuant to Ind. Criminal Rule 4(B) despite his incarceration on an unrelated charge. A defendant must be incarcerated on the pending charges to be entitled to the benefits of the 70-day speedy trial rule, the court held.

- Jennings Daugherty v. State of Indiana, No. 89S01-1108-CR-513, in which the COA affirmed in a not-for-publication decision Jennings Daugherty’s convictions of and sentence for Class D felony intimidation, Class D felony operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, two counts of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and his adjudication as a habitual offender. Daugherty claimed that the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress constituted an abuse of discretion; his multiple convictions for possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon violated the prohibitions against double jeopardy; that the trial court erred in allowing the state to amend the habitual offender information; and his sentence was inappropriate.

- AOL LLC v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 49S10-1108-TA-514, in which the Indiana Tax Court reversed the department of state revenue’s final determinations which denied AOL’s two claims for a refund. The court ordered the department to refund to AOL the use taxes it paid during the tax periods at issue.

The Supreme Court denied transfer to 37 cases, including Allan C. Bir v. Cynthia Bir, No. 06A01-1009-DR-449, in which the attorneys representing Allan asked the high court to take the case because they believed new child support guidelines are unconstitutional and the Court of Appeals doesn’t have the authority to go against them. Revisions in 2010 changed the payment scheme for high-income earners and raised the ceiling on child support obligations.


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