Indiana Supreme Court takes 4th Amendment case

August 16, 2016

The Indiana Supreme Court took two cases on transfer last week, including whether a police officer was within his community caretaker function when he pulled over a woman after she left a gas station.

The officer arrived on the scene after a call that a woman was stuck under a car at a gas station. Mary Osborne had managed to free herself before the officer arrived. He saw her drive away and stopped her, concerned she needed medical attention. He believed she may have been intoxicated based on slurred speech and the odor of alcohol. She was criminally charged with drunk driving and filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals in May reversed, finding the officer’s stop was not justified pursuant to his community caretaking function.

The case is Mary Osborne v. State of Indiana, 29S02-1608-CR-433.

The justices also accepted Kennedy Tank & MFG. Co., Inc., et al. v. Emmert Industrial Corp., 49S02-1608-CT431, in which there is a dispute over whether a federal or state statute of limitation to sue should apply in a breach of contract case.

Kennedy Tank Manufacturing Co. hired Emmert International to transport a piece of commercial equipment, but unforeseen circumstances led to an additional $700,000 in expenses, which Kennedy declined to pay. The contract said Kennedy would pay for any additional expenses Emmert might incur during the move.

Kennedy sought to dismiss Emmert’s lawsuit for breach of contract because it was filed outside the 18-month statute of limitations outlined in 49 U.S.C. Section 14705(a). The trial court ruled the 10-year period in state law should apply.

A divided Court of Appeals reversed in April, noting that when other courts have ruled on the preemption issue, they have held that when a state limitation was longer than the federal one, the federal one should apply.

The high court declined 25 other cases for the week ending Aug. 12, including now-disbarred attorney Joseph Lehman’s appeal of his unauthorized practice of law convictions.

The complete transfer list is available here.



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