Opinions April 27, 2017

Keywords Opinions

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Michael Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractors, Inc. and BMH Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Craft Mechanical
Civil tort. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s grant of partial summary judgment to TCI Architects and Craft Mechanical. Grants Michael Ryan’s motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of duty. Finds the contract demonstrates the general contractor’s intent to assume a duty of care. Remands for further proceedings on breach, causation and damages.

Thursday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lois Marie Trask v. Edgar Rodriguez, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms the award of summary judgment to the casino employee defendants. Finds that if Lois Trask never received a copy of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, she should have asked for a copy, which she failed to do. Also finds the district court did not err in enforcing a settlement between Trask and the defendants.

Indiana Court of Appeals
M.G. v. V.P.
Protective order. Reverses the Lake Superior Court’s order granting V.P.’s third petition for a protective order against M.G. Finds V.P.’s third protective order was barred by res judicata. Remands with instructions to vacate the protective order against M.G.

Indiana Gas & Electric Company v. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, et al.
Agency. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s partial denial of Vectren’s petition to update its seven-year plan. Finds the IURC did not misinterpret Indiana Code 8-1-39-1 et seq. Also finds the doctrine of res judicata does not apply.

Larry D. Bass v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses Larry D. Bass’ convictions for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, one as a Class A misdemeanor and one as a Class C misdemeanor. Finds where, as here, a trial court states that the defendants has been found guilty of multiple counts of OWI, enters a “judgment” that is not specific as to those counts and then states that the counts “mere for purposes of sentencing,” case law requires the Indiana Court of Appeals to remand with instructions that it specifically vacate the lesser offense. Remands with instructions. Judge Melissa May dissents with separate opinion.

Heather Rose v. Bradley Rose (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the dissolution court’s order that Heather and Bradley Rose equally split post-dissolution costs relating to a foreclosure on their mortgage. Reverses the dissolution’s court order that Heather Rose pay Bradley Rose $18,177.02 in court costs and attorney fees. Finds the dissolution court acted within its equitable discretion when it granted Bradley Rose’s Rule 60(B) motion and ordered the parties to be equally responsible for the post-dissolution deficiency judgment. Also finds paragraph 39 of the dissolution decree is unambiguous and instructs that Heather Rose shall hold Bradley Rose harmless only with respect to the payment of the five medical bills listed.  

Brian Woodring v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of Brian Woodring’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds the post-conviction court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to consider Woodring’s breach of plea agreement claims. Also finds the court did not err when it denied his petition on the issue of an illegal sentence.

Jodee Meyers v. Paul Meyers (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the dissolution court’s order modifying Jodee Meyers’ custody over her children born of her marriage to Paul Meyers. Finds Jodee Meyers has not demonstrated error on the issue of the dissolutions court’s consideration of various motions and the dissolution court did not abuse its discretion in making certain evidentiary rulings. Finally, finds the dissolution court’s findings are adequate to support its conclusions.
Todd A. Stigleman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Todd Stigleman’s conviction of four counts of kidnapping as Class A felonies, eight counts of criminal confinement as Class C felonies and two counts of stalking as Class C felonies, his admission to being an habitual offender and his sentence to 76 years in the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the Wayne Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Stigleman’s motion to sever or in admitting evidence. Also finds Stigleman’s sentence is not inappropriate.

Donald Searing v. Karen Vivas (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the Vigo Superior Court’s order granting primary physical custody of C.S. to Karen Vivas. Finds that the trial court properly awarded physical custody to Vivas.

Scott Jordan v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Scott K. Jordan’s sentence to 16 years for robbery as a Level 3 felony. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate.

James G. Balser, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms James Balser’s conviction for theft as a Class A misdemeanor. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction.

Termination: A.S. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of A.S.’s parental rights over N.S. Finds that the St. Joseph Probate Court’s conclusions that the conditions that resulted in the child’s removal will not be remedied, that the termination of A.S.’s parental rights was in the child’s best interests and that the Department of Child Services has a satisfactory plan for the care and treatment of the child were not clearly erroneous.

Sidney Greenleaf v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Sidney Greenleaf’s sentence to 45 years for attempted murder. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing him and that Greenleaf has not sustained his burden of establishing that his sentence in inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Paul W. Barnes, Sr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Paul W. Barnes Sr.’s convictions for two counts of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finds Barnes did not open the door to vouching testimony, but that the error in admitting the testimony was harmless.

Dennis Hickey v. Erika Schaadt, et al. (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Reverses the Allen Superior Court’s grant of an Indiana Trial Rule 37 motion to exclude Dennis Hickey’s witnesses and the court’s subsequent grant of a Trial Rule 41(E) motion to dismiss. Finds the Trial Rule 37 order excluding all of plaintiff’s witnesses except for Hickey was an unjustified sanction and, thus, the Trial Rule 41(E) order of dismissal that ensued amounts to an abuse of discretion.

Termination: J.S. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the involuntary termination of J.S.’s parent-child relationship with her son, L.S. Finds there was clear and convincing evidence to support the termination of J.S.’s parental rights.

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