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Justices grant transfer in one case, deny 23 others

May 1, 2019

Indiana Supreme Court justices rejected nearly all the cases brought before the high court last week on petition to transfer, granting one case and dividing on two others.

The justices unanimously denied 23 transfers in all but two cases it considered last week, including Chief Justice Loretta Rush’s unreciprocated request to hear argument in Dick Sears v. Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency, 18A-MI-883.

In that case, the Indiana Court of Appeals split over whether a Putnam County farmer was considered a claimant for certain grain he delivered to Cline Grain, Inc., which was licensed with the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency. The agency determined that as defined by Indiana Code § 26-3-7-2(5), Sears was not considered a “claimant” for grain delivered more than 12 months prior to Cline’s financial failure.

Sears argued the IGBWLA’s interpretation of the term “claimant” was arbitrary and capricious, but the COA majority concluded that interpretation of the claimant statute was incorrect, affirming the trial court’s denial of his petition for judicial relief.

Judge Margret G. Robb dissented in a separate opinion, arguing the majority’s reading of “claimant” was too narrow and served to “exclude producers the statute intended to compensate.”

Justice Geoffrey Slaughter also voted against the grain in another petitioned case, failing to convince his benchmates to grant transfer in the case of Buddy & Pals III, Inc., et al. v. Christopher Falaschetti, 18A-CT-1811.

There, the COA concluded that bouncers at Lake County sports bar Buddy & Pals had foreseeable knowledge that William Bailey, an angry and drunk customer, was prone to violence after he had been thrown out of the back door of the bar for starting a fight while inside.

The appellate court ruled the bar had a duty to take precautions to protects its other patrons from further violent attack, including a man who was accidentally punched by Bailey outside of the bar.

Justices did grant transfer in the case of Rita White v. State of Indiana,19S-CR-256, solely for the purpose of remanding the case to issue a corrected sentencing order and abstract of judgment finding Rita White did not classify as a credit-restricted felon under her conviction of Class A felony child molesting.

A full list of cases considered for the week ending April 26 may be viewed here.

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