Opinions Nov. 6, 2015

November 6, 2015

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc. v. Continental Carbon Company
14-1416, 14-1555
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey.
Civil. Vacates judgment for BRC on its lawsuit that Continental Carbon had breached and repudiated the contract for it to supply carbon black to BRC. The agreement did not obligate BRC to buy any or all of its carbon black from Continental, so the trial court erred in concluding the contract was a requirements contract. Remands without reaching BRC’s cross-appeal related to damages.  

United States of America v. Booker T. Rogers

Criminal. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Moody. Affirms application of 6-level sentence enhancement for committing a sex offense while in failure-to-register status and refusal to award credit for acceptance of responsibility. Concludes that the threshold definition of “sex offense” found in § 16911(5)(A)(i) requires a categorical approach — an inquiry limited to the elements of the offense — but the exception in subsection(5)(C) calls for an examination of the specific facts of the offense conduct. The District Court conducted just this sort of analysis.

Indiana Supreme Court
Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles in his Official Capacity v. Rodney G. Vawter, et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment for the plaintiffs declaring unconstitutional the statute that authorizes the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to refuse to issue personalized license plates. Indiana’s personalized license plates are government speech.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick C. Sasso, M.D., and SEE LLC v. Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc., Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., and Medtronic, Inc.
Civil plenary. Affirms order denying SEE LLC’s motion for summary judgment and granting the defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment. SEE LLC argued that it is entitled to unpaid royalties stemming from a 1998 contract, but that contract is unenforceable as a matter of law.

Timothy Devereux v. Rene DiBenedetto
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Devereux’s motion for summary judgment. Agrees with the Charnay analysis and finds it consistent with Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(h). The clause in DiBenedetto’s contract with the Conour Law Firm that shortens the time for filing a lawsuit violates public policy and is void. Expressly declines to comment on the merits of DiBenedetto’s action against Devereux.

Timothy W. Moore v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony failure to register as a sex offender. The state presented sufficient evidence to support the conviction and Moore’s move out of state does not relieve him of registering his new address.

Dean Vander Woude and Timothy Koster v. First Midwest Bank, Successor in Interest to Bank Calumet, N.A.
Civil plenary. Reverses amount of attorney fees awarded to Vander Woude and Koster on their slander of title claim. A review of relevant case law does not reveal any basis for the trial court’s categorical exclusion from Vander Woude and Koster’s attorney fee award those fees related to the summary judgment, jury trial or first appeal. Instead, the trial court shall determine the attorney fee award based on reasonableness, guided by Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(a).

Robert H. Gentry, III v. Michael Blair (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous.  Affirms trial court’s order, following a hearing, overruling Gentry’s objection to the issuance of a tax deed for the property in Eaton, Indiana, on which Gentry and John Bales owed delinquent taxes.

Luis A. Ramirez v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor, Class C felony child exploitation and Class D felony possession of child pornography.

James Watkins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Watkins’ petition for post-conviction relief.

Cesar Contreras-Munoz v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Contreras-Munoz’s petition for post-conviction relief.