Opinions Aug. 17, 2021

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinions were posted after IL deadline Monday:

Brian Hope, et al. v. Commissioner of Indiana Department of Correction, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Richard L. Young.

Civil. Reverses the order from a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit removing the names of six sex offenders from the Indiana Sex Offender Registry. Finds the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act does not violate the right to travel because it does not expressly discriminate based on residency, as consistently required by the Supreme Court. Also finds Brian Hope’s ex post facto claim is likewise precluded by precedent. Finally, finds SORA is not “so punitive either in purpose or effect” as to surmount Indiana’s nonpunitive intent for the law. Remands for consideration of the equal protection claim, finding the district court did not address whether SORA passes rational basis scrutiny under an equal protection analysis. Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner, with Judges Diane Wood and David Hamilton joining, concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion.

Ronald Schmucker, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., and Tocon Holdings, LLC
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Chief Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.

Civil. Affirms the district court’s finding that Johnson Controls Inc. is not posing an “imminent” or “substantial” danger to locals via factory pollution. Finds the plaintiffs’ reliance on a federal memorandum has no legal force. Also finds the district court did not apply a “heightened” standard.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals

Sandra Haggarty v. Thomas M. Haggarty
Domestic relations with children. Affirms the resolution of contested issues in divorce proceedings between Sandra and Thomas Haggarty. Finds the evidence and findings support the Allen Circuit Court’s implementation of the agreement’s requirement for Thomas to maintain a joint checking account for ordinary living expenses. Also finds Sandra was not entitled to prejudgment interest because the court had to use its discretion to determine the contract damages. Finally, finds the trial court did not err when it found Sandra’s releases were unambiguous or when it ordered her to pay Thomas’ attorney fees for litigating her meritless assertion that the releases meant other than what they said. Judge Margret Robb concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion.

Eric Holcomb, in his official capacity as Governor, and Frederick Payne, in his official capacity as Commissioner of Workforce Development v. T.L., J.C., L.C., S.A.S., J.H.S., and Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis
Civil plenary. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s order granting a preliminary injunction to T.L., J.C., L.C., S.A.S., J.H.S. and Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, which enjoined Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Frederick Payne from withdrawing the state from unemployment benefits offered by the federal government through the CARES Act. Finds Indiana Code § 22-4-37-1 does not require participation in the CARES Act programs, so the state’s decision to terminate the benefits did not violate the statute. Also finds the plaintiffs have not shown a reasonable likelihood of success at trial. Finally, finds the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.

Martha S. Wright, Charles W. Wright, Brittany A. Shuman, John S. Free, and Michelle Shuman v. Crawford County Indiana Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell-Goerss, Crawford County Department of Child Services Lisa Smith, Crawford County Department of Child Services Jessica Collins-Albarez, and Crawford County Clerk Lisa Holzbog (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Affirms the dismissal of Martha S. and Charles W. Wright’s action for injunctive relief against Crawford Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell-Goerss, Crawford County Department of Child Services, DCS caseworkers Lisa Smith and Jessica Collins Albarez, Crawford County Clerk Lisa Holzbog, Michelle D. Shuman, Brittany A. Shuman and John S. Free. Finds the Wrights have failed to present cogent argument as required by the Indiana Rules of AAppellate Procedure.

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