Opinions Dec. 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday.
Anne R. Hill v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Remands Hill’s case for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income to the Social Security Administration for further proceedings. Finds the administrative law judge improperly discredited Hill’s testimony that back and neck pain limit her ability to sit, stand and walk for extended periods of time. Judge Posner concurs with separate opinion.   

Monday’s opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Whitley v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the denial of Whitley’s motion to suppress evidence found during an inventory search of the vehicle Whitley was driving. Even though officers did not follow police procedure for inventorying a vehicle, there is nothing to indicate the search was a pretext for a narcotics investigation.

Brad Barton v. Alexandra Barton
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of husband’s motion for relief from judgment and concludes the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding incapacity spousal maintenance and attorney fees to wife. But the court erred in dividing the marital estate by valuing and dividing his pension and deferred tax savings plan. Remands with instructions.

Michael A. Wartell v. Lawrence H. Lee
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to Lee on the issue of defamation per se. Finds Lee’s statements were generalizations about Wartell’s character and conduct. Although the statements were arguably defamatory, the vagueness with which they are stated prevents them from imputing misconduct and rising to the level of defamation per se.

Mark Hurst v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief in which Hurst claimed his sentence was improperly enhanced.

Richard L. Berg v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms three convictions and sentence for Class B felonies sexual misconduct with a minor. Remands with instructions to vacate Berg’s three convictions of Class B felony incest. Judge Riley concurs in result without separate opinion.

James E. Pugh v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A felony dealing in a controlled substance.

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: A.D. and C.D. and Ch.D. and Cl.D. v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parents’ rights to minor children A.D. and C.D.

Antonio Floyd v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

Bruce Ashby v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class D felony possession of a controlled substance due to insufficient evidence.

In Re the Adoption of: B.B. (Minor Child), K.B. v. J.K. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Affirms order that mother’s consent is not required for her cousin to adopt mother’s child.