Opinions Jan 24, 2019

January 24, 2019

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Q.D.-A., Inc. v. Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Agency action. Reverses the finding that Q.D.-A. should have classified its driver as an employee, not an independent contractor. Finds the liability administrative law judge unreasonably concluded the driver was Q.D.-A.’s employee under the Unemployment Compensation Act when the driver was not under Q.D.-A.’s control or direction, performed a service outside Q.D.-A.’s usually course of business and ran an independently established business. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter concurs in result without separate opinion.

Thursday's opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert E. Dunham v. State of Indiana

Infraction. Reverses the Henry Circuit Court’s determination that Robert E. Dunham violated the weight limit for heavy equipment on highways, a Class C infraction. Finds Indiana Code section 9-20-2-2(b)(3) is ambiguous as applied to the facts of this case, and under the rule of lenity, the ambiguity is construed against the state.

Clint Fields v. Safway Group Holdings, LLC
Civil tort. Affirms the vacation of a default judgment entered in Clint Fields’ favor. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it granted equitable relief provided in Indiana Trial Rule 60(B)(8). Judge Paul Mathias dissents with separate opinion.

Thomas Jeffrie Snow v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Thomas Snow’s two murder convictions. Finds the search of the victims’ residence was proper under the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution, so evidence from the residence was properly admitted at Snow’s trial. Also finds sufficient evidence existed for the jury to convict Snow of murder.

Crawfordsville Town & Country Home Center, Inc. v. Odilon Elias Cordova, Jamie Busse, and Do It Best Corp
Civil tort. Reverses the denial of Crawfordsville Town & Country Home Center, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment in proceedings brought by Odilon Elias Cordova and Jamie Busse. Finds the Allen Superior Court erred in denying the summary judgment motion.

Donald P. Katz v. Lori B. Katz
Domestic relation. Affirms the order in Hamilton Superior Court for Donald Katz to make additional payments to Lori Katz. Finds the parties’ later dissolution arrangements fell within the larger terms of the formal decree. Also finds Donald was required to make additional property settlement payments to Lori under the terms of their court-approved agreement.

James Woodrow Morrison v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms James Morrison’s convictions of resisting law enforcement while operating a vehicle in a manner that causes death and operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body causing serious bodily injury. Finds Morrison’s double jeopardy rights were not violated.

Gary L. Taylor v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Gary L. Taylor’s probation and the order for him to serve his six-year sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion.

Stacy B. Matheny v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses the determination of Stacy B. Matheny’s credit time. Finds the Perry Circuit Court erred in calculating credit time. Remands for entry of a sentencing order indicating Matheny was to receive credit for 754 actual days as of the date of sentencing.

In the Matter of The Supervised Estate of Gary L. Steinmetz, deceased, With Personal Representative: Ruth Steinmetz v. Daryl Steinmetz (mem. dec.)
Estate, supervised. Affirms the Dearborn Circuit Court’s denial of Ruth Steinmetz’s motion to set aside the court’s denial of her petition to probate a handwritten will she discovered after her son, Gary, died. Finds the trial court’s decision on the petition to admit a document to probate was correct, so the subsequent decision to not set aside that ruling was also correct.

C.M. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms C.M.’s placement with the Indiana Department of Correction after his disposition was modified when he admitted to dangerous possession of a firearm, a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult. Finds the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion.