Opinions June 19, 2019

Keywords Opinions

Indiana Court of Appeals
Golden Corral Corporation v. Kristina M. Lenart

18A-CT-704
Civil tort. Affirms the Clark Circuit Court’s award of $240,000 in damages on Kristina Lenart’s claim for negligence against Golden Corral Corporation for her claim of food poisoning. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing Dr. Julie Hutchinson to testify as an expert witness on Lenart’s behalf; in denying Golden Corral’s motion for judgment on the evidence; or by instructing the jury on spoliation and res ipsa loquitur. Also finds the trial court did not err in concluding Lenart’s claim was not governed by the Indiana Products Liability Act.

Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles v. Majestic Auto Body
18A-SC-2524
Small claims. Reverses the Morgan Superior Court’s partial denial of Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles motion for relief from judgment, as well as nunc pro tunc orders requiring it to issue salvage titles to two vehicles owned by Majestic Auto Body. Finds that because the titling of vehicles that have been designated as junk by another state is not authorized by statute the trial court abused its discretion by not granting BMV full relief to its motion for relief. Remands with instructions for the trial court to vacate the nunc pro tunc orders.

Herbert Quinn v. State of Indiana
18A-CR-2256
Criminal. Affirms Herbert Quinn’s conviction of Level 1 felony attempted murder. Finds the evidence is sufficient to rebut Quinn’s self-defense claim.

In the Matter of: M.W., a Child Alleged to be in Need of Services, S.R. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services
18A-JC-2452
Juvenile CHINS. Dismisses as moot mother S.R.’s appeal of the placement of her child M.W. after the Vanderburgh Superior Court found M.W. to be a child in need of services. Finds that because the child has been placed with S.R. and the CHINS case is closed, the appeal is moot.

Donald Newland, Jr. v. State of Indiana
19A-CR-95
Criminal. Affirms Donald Newland’s conviction of Level 5 felony burglary, finding that the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by prohibiting him from cross-examining a witness regarding the witness’s prior conviction.

Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Travis Shroyer
18A-CT-1330
Civil tort. Reverses the denial of Auto-Owners Insurance Company’s motion for summary judgment alleging it had no duty to indemnify or defend Travis Shroyer on a negligence claim brought by Brena Berardicelli on behalf of her son, J.B. Finds J.B. was an “insured” as defined in Shroyer’s homeowner’s insurance policy at the time of the accident. Remands to the Henry Circuit Court to enter judgment in favor of Auto-Owners.

Ladell Davis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-2876
Criminal. Reverses Ladell Davis’ conviction of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Finds the state produced insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction by failing to prove that his conviction occurred within the statute of limitations.

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of J.G. v. Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County d/b/a Eskenazi Health/Midtown CMHC (mem. dec.)
18A-MH-2763
Mental health. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s order temporarily committing J.G. to Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health for no longer than 90 days. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the order and that J.D. was mentally ill as defined by Indiana Code § 12-7-2-130.

R.P. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (mem. dec.)
18A-EX-1689
Agency. Affirms the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s denial of unemployment benefits to R.P. Finds R.P. was ineligible for unemployment benefits because he voluntarily terminated his employment for reasons unrelated to his job.

Carl Lee Brookerd v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-3057
Criminal. Affirms Carl Brookerd’s convictions of Level 3 felony aggravated battery and Level 5 felony battery by means of a deadly weapon. Finds there was sufficient evidence to rebut his self-defense claim.

Brock Mills v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-1158
Criminal. Affirms Brock Mills’ aggregate 15½-year sentence for his conviction of Level 4 felony burglary. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense or Mills’ character.

Lonnie D. Sewell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-3026
Criminal. Affirms the Allen Superior Court’s decision to revoke Lonnie Sewell’s probation and order him to serve all of his previously suspended sentence. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

C.D.Q., b/n/f Rita Peoples, Rita Peoples, and Keith Peoples v. McDonald's Corporation (mem. dec.)
18A-CT-2109
Civil tort. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of McDonald’s Corporation against Rita and Keith Peoples’ negligence claims, based on the timeline and lack of evidence on the issue of potential liability of McDonald’s under the circumstances. Reverses for further proceedings.

In the Matter of the Adoption of T.T. and K.T; J.T., Jr. (Father) v. R.K.A. (Adoptive Parent) (mem. dec.)
18A-AD-2384
Adoption. Affirms the Fayette Circuit Court’s adoption decree granting the adoption of minor children T.T. and K.T. to adoptive father R.K.A. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying biological father J.T. Jr.’s motion for continuance of the adoption hearing. Also finds there is sufficient evidence to support the finding that J.T. Jr.’s consent was not required and the adoption was in the best interests of the children.

Rickey R. Armour v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-2970
Criminal. Affirms Rickey Armour’s aggregate 25-year sentence for conviction of Level 2 felony dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug; two counts of Level 3 felony dealing in cocaine or narcotic drug; Level 4 felony dealing in cocaine or narcotic drug; Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon; and Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the convictions and that the Allen Superior Court did not commit prejudicial error in refusing Armour’s proposed instruction on constructive possession.

Abner C. Robertson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-2936
Criminal. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Abner Robertson’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea of Level 3 felony aggravated battery and admission of being a habitual offender. Finds no error in the trial court’s exercise of discretion in denying the motion to withdraw.  

Dennis L. Mink v. Elizabeth M. Kistner (mem. dec.)
18A-JP-2773
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the Marion Circuit Court’s order awarding physical custody of child M.L.A.M. to mother Elizabeth Kistner. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded custody of the child to Kistner.

Traci Jones v. Marvin Jones (mem. dec.)
18A-DC-2248
Domestic relations with children. Affirms the Cass Superior Court’s valuation and division of property following Traci Jones’ dissolution of marriage to Marvin Jones. Finds the trial court did not err in its distribution of the marital estate, by awarding Husband $6,000 credit, or by ordering Wife to use part of her tax refund to pay for her attorney fees without making Husband pay more. Judge Margret Robb concurs in part and dissents in part with a separate opinion.

Christopher Stichter v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-2641
Criminal. Affirms Christopher Stichter’s conviction of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felony; Level 6 felony criminal recklessness; Class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance; Class B misdemeanor false informing; and Class B misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident. Finds the Tippecanoe Circuit Court did not err by not granting Stichter’s motion to sever two groups of charges, or by replaying a bodycam video for the jury after deliberations had begun. Also finds there is sufficient evidence to show Stichter is a serious violent felon and a habitual offender. Judge Robert Altice concurs in result with separate opinion.

Michael Shaw v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-CR-2934
Criminal. Affirms Michael Shaw’s conviction of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

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