Opinions June 5, 2019

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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Paula Casillas v. Madison Avenue Associates, Inc
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms the Southern District Court’s dismissal of Paula Casillas’ proposed class action alleging that Madison Avenue Associates, Inc. violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by failing to inform Casillas that she must communicate in writing to trigger the statutory protections for verifying a debt. Finds that because Madison’s violation of the statute did not harm Casillas, no injury exists for a federal court to redress. Chief Judge Diane Wood and Circuit Judges Ilana Rovner and David Hamilton dissent from the denial of en banc rehearing of the ruling that creates a circuit split in conflict with a 6th Circuit ruling.
Indiana Supreme Court
Daniel O'Bryant, d/b/a O'Bryant Transport, LLC v. Alan P. Adams, Luan Adams, d/b/a A.L.A. Trucking, Inc.

Civil plenary. Affirms the Madison Circuit Court’s dismissal of Daniel O’Bryant’s amended Indiana complaint under Trial Rule 12(B)(2), though for a reason other than lack of personal jurisdiction. Finds that while the trial court erred grounds for dismissal, the disputed forum selection clause is mandatory and unambiguous in requires that suit be brought in Texas, not Indiana. Also finds O’Bryant has not satisfied his burden of showing that a forum-selection contract clause is invalid.

Wednesday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Town of Brownsburg, Indiana, et al. v. Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation, et al.

Civil plenary. Affirms the Hendricks Superior Court’s judgment that the Town of Brownsburg did not meet statutory requirements for the annexation of nearly 4,500 acres. Holds that total acreage is the basis for computation of a percentage of subdivided property for statutory purposes, and that trial courts must consider evidence presented by the municipality and remonstrators in annexation cases.

Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Paternity of Kevin Yafet Mendoza Bonilla, aka Kevin Yafeth Mendoza Bonilla, a Minor, By his Next Friend, Perla Maily Bonilla Acosta v. Marco Tulio Mendoza Maldonado

Juvenile paternity. Reverses and remands the Marion Circuit Court’s paternity order and denial of an amended order presented by Kevin Yafet Mendoza Bonilla. Finds Kevin has established prima facie error. Remands to the trial court to consider the request for special immigrant juvenile findings and articulate the relevant determinations pursuant to federal law under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J).

Michael A. Johnston, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Michael A. Johnston’s convictions of Level 6 felony domestic battery, Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief, one count of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct and two counts of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and his aggregate six-and-a-half year sentence. Vacates Johnston’s conviction of one count of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Finds the Montgomery Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in removing Johnston from the courtroom. Also finds there is a reasonable possibility that the jury relied on the same evidentiary facts to support Count IV, disorderly conduct, as it did to support Counts I or II, domestic battery and criminal mischief, and that Johnston’s conviction for Count IV violations double jeopardy principles. Finally, finds Johnston has not sustained his burden of establishing that his aggregate sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Lisiate U. Tavake v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Lisiate Tavake’s conviction of Level 6 felony battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Muir Woods Section One Association, et al. v. Claudia O. Fuentes, Marion County Treasurer; et al. (mem. dec.)
Civil collection. Remands with instructions for the Marion Superior Court to clarify disposition of Muir Woods Section One Assn., Inc. and Nantucket Bay Homeowners Association, Inc.’s motion to correct error. Finds the record is ambiguous as to whether the court reinstated the action upon a motion to correct error.

Kevin L. Martin v. Makenzy Gilbert, Hess (Mail Room), Charles Dugan (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the Sullivan Superior Court’s order dismissing with prejudice Kevin Martin’s complaint filed against certain employees and/or staff at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Finds the trial court did not err in its dismissal and that Martin has waived review of his claims.

Michael J. Lepka v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael J. Lepka’s aggregate five-year sentence for conviction of Level 5 felony battery resulting in bodily injury to a person less than 14 years old and Class A misdemeanor battery. Finds Lepka’s sentence is appropriate.

In re the Matter of D.C. and N.F. (Minor Children), R.W. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of D.C. and N.F. as children in need of services. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the CHINS adjudication.

Jerome Smith v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jerome Smith’s seven-year sentence for conviction of Level 3 felony dealing in methamphetamine. Finds Smith’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offense and his character.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of A.W. and S.W. (Minor Children) and L.W. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, et al. (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination. Affirms the Lake Superior Court’s termination of L.W.’s parental rights to two of her children, A.W. and S.W. Finds the Lake Superior Court did not commit error when it determined that mother did not demonstrate good cause for a continuance. Also finds the Department of Child Services met its burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence there is a reasonable probability that the conditions that resulted in removal will not be remedied and that termination is in the best interests of the children.

Damon Conner v. Amanda Conner (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the Madison Circuit Court’s order modifying custody of Damon Conner’s minor child D.C. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted Amanda Conner’s request to relocate. However, reverses the trial court’s August 30, 2018 order concerning the tax exemption of D.C. and remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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