Opinions May 4, 2017

Keywords Opinions

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
In the Matter of Justin R. Wall
Disciplinary. Suspends Justin Wall for 30 days with automatic reinstatement. Finds Wall violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(e), 5.5(a), 8.4(a) and 1.5(a), but finds in Wall’s favor on the remaining charges. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter dissents from the finding that Wall violated Rule 5.5(a) but concurs with the remaining findings and the sanctioned imposed.

Thursday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Marcus Zanders v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Marcus Zanders’ convictions of two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and his adjudication as a habitual offender. Chief Justice Loretta Rush writes for the majority that under federal precedent, the Fourth Amendment does not require police to obtain a search warrant to gather information an individual has voluntarily relinquished to a third party — in this case, cellphone historical location data. Majority holds that the “third-party doctrine” applies here, so Zanders had no reasonable expectation of privacy in Sprint’s historical cell site location data. Justices Steven David and Robert Rucker dissent, holding that Zanders’ rights under Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 11, were violated, and police should have obtained a warrant for the location data.

Noe Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton Company, Inc.
Civil tort. Reverses the Montgomery Superior Court’s evidentiary rulings. Finds the Indiana Constitution’s Open Courts Clause allows unauthorized immigrants to pursue claims for decreased earning capacity damages. Also finds that a plaintiff’s unauthorized immigration status is inadmissible unless the evidence’s proponent shows by a preponderance that the plaintiff will be deported. Finally, finds that unaccounted-for contingencies in an expert’s damages calculations are issues for cross-examination, not grounds for exclusion. Remands.

Indiana Court of Appeals
William J. Knapp and Rosalea M. Knapp v. The Estate of Carl R. Wright and Joan M. Wright
Civil plenary. Affirms the Elkhart Superior Court’s entry of partial summary judgment and award of damages in favor of Carl R. Wright and Joan M. Wright. Finds the trial court properly entered partial summary judgment in favor of the Wrights declaring the real estate contract unenforceable as a matter of law and that the court’s subsequent award of $24,000 in damages to the Wrights was within the scope of the evidence presented. Also finds the trial court did not err when it ordered William and Rosalea Knapp’s lis pendens notice removed.  

L.G. v. S.L., et al.
Adoption. Reverses the dismissal of L.G.’s motion to contest the adoption of his putative child and the trial court’s entry of a decree of adoption. Finds that the trial court erred when it dismissed L.G.’s motion. Also finds L.G. did not unduly delay the proceedings. Remands for further proceedings.

Manuel Biggs v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Manuel Biggs’ conviction of patronizing a prostitute as a Class A misdemeanor. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to rebut his defense of entrapment.

In re the Civil Commitment of C.B. v. Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health (mem. dec.)
Mental health. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s order involuntarily committing C.D. to Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health, for a period not expected to exceed 90 days. Finds the temporary commitment order is supported by clear and convincing evidence.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of Z.S. (Minor Child), H.M. (Mother) and T.S. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of T.S. and H.M.’s parental rights to Z.S. Finds the Owen Circuit Court did not clearly err in concluding the termination of T.S.’s parental rights was in the best interests of Z.S. or in concluding there was a reasonable probability that the conditions that led to Z.S.’s removal from H.M.’s care would not be remedied.  

Eugene Croffett v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Eugene Croffett’s convictions of child molesting as a Level 4 felony and being a habitual offender. Finds the admission as evidence of a handwritten note Croffet composed during a police investigation did not constitute fundamental error.

In the Matter of: S.M. (Minor Child), and D.M. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of S.M. as a child in need of services. Finds the Montgomery Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting certain exhibits pertaining to D.M.’s oral drug screens. Also finds the CHINS adjudication was not clearly erroneous.

ERC I, LLC v. Whiteacre Funding, LLC, Riverdale Funding, LLC, Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund 2 LLC (mem. dec.)
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms the Vanderburgh Superior Court’s ruling in favor of Whiteacre Funding LLC, Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund II LLC and Riverdale Funding LLC and against ERC I LLC. Finds the trial court’s conclusion that no duty to speak existed under the circumstances is supported by the findings of facts and is not clearly erroneous. Also finds the findings support the trial court’s conclusion that the Woodbridge parties did not act in bad faith when rejecting the real estate broker’s opinion.

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