Opinions May 13, 2021

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline on Wednesday:

Soraida Flores v. City of South Bend
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge James T. Moody.
Civil. Reverses the Northern Indiana District Court’s dismissal of Soraida Flores’s lawsuit against former South Bend police officer Justin Gorny and the City of South Bend as personal representative of deceased Erica Flores. Although the district court concluded Gorny did not violate the motorist’s constitutional rights, the 7th Circuit finds that Flores’s allegations plausibly state claims against both defendants, and she is therefore entitled to proceed with her case. Remands for further proceedings. Circuit Judge Michael B. Brennan writes separately in concurrence.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, et al. v. Duke Energy Indiana, LLC, et al.
Agency. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s order granting in part and denying in part Duke Energy Indiana’s petition to raise rates it charges for electricity. Deciding a mixed question of law and fact, finds that the IURC did not err in approving Duke’s coal ash remediation costs. Finds no err in the IURC’s approval of Duke’s jurisdictional separation study. Finally, concludes the IURC did not err in granting Duke’s request to recover in full its requested amount of O&M costs for the Edwardsport plant.

Keith D. Jackson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part Keith Jackson’s convictions for false informing, driving while suspended, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Finds an erroneous jury instruction was offered on the possession charge and therefore constitutes fundamental error. Finds Jackson was denied a fair trial and the process due to him, and his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm as a serious violent felon should be reversed. However, finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm as a serious violent felon and finds the state is not barred from retrying him on that charge.

Matthew Hon Ferguson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Matthew Hon Ferguson’s 13-year sentence for Level 3 felony promotion of sexual trafficking of a younger child and Level 4 felony sexual misconduct with a minor is inappropriate. Finds this is not an exceptional case that warrants a sentence revision.

Leon Rucker v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Leon Rucker’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

William D. Norman v. Rachelle L. Norman
Domestic relations with children. Affirms in part, reverses in part, and remands for further proceedings. Finds the custody evaluation report was not inadmissible absent sponsoring in-court testimony. Also finds the award of physical custody of Children to Mother, R.N., is not an abuse of discretion. Remands for recalculation of Father, W.N.’s, child support obligation, re-valuation of business property, and the equal distribution of the marital estate

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