Justices take 2 cases, deny 18

The Indiana Supreme Court granted two of 20 transfer requests and decided the cases last week, but four more cases were denied with split decisions.

City of Beech Grove v.Cathy J. Beloat and Kevin Allyn Ammons v. State of Indiana were granted transfer and ruled on last week by the Supreme Court. However, Chief Justice Loretta Rush voted on three more cases to be transferred to the high court, and Justices Steven David and Brent Dickson two more each.

Rush and Dickson voted to grant transfer to Scott Stibbins, et al. v. Carol (Stibbins) Foster, et al., in which the Court of Appeals outlined the approach judges should follow when a party seeks attorney fees pursuant to I.C. 29-1-10-14. Two of the three claims raised in the case were without just cause or good faith, but the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled an estate must pay more than $170,000 in attorney fees to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

In Allen County Assessor v. Verizon Data Services, the state Department of Revenue claimed Verizon’s challenge was untimely because the company waived deadlines to appeal an assessment. It argued that any procedural error on the state’s part should be decided in its favor because “a pattern in recent appellate decisions shows a clear willingness by courts to forgive procedural errors even where a consequence for the failure is specified.” The Indiana Tax Court disagreed. Rush and David voted for transfer.

Rush and David also voted for transfer in another tax court case, Washington Township Assessor, et al. v. Verizon Data Services. The Tax Court granted summary judgment to Verizon after Verizon appealed an increased in assessed value of personal property by $37 million.

Dickson voted to transfer Virginia Bishop v. Dennis Parks, a memorandum decision in which a man driving a dump truck ran over a flagger. The issue was whether part of a police report should have been admitted into evidence, or if it was hearsay.

The transfer list for the week ending April 8 is available here.

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