Opinions Aug. 24, 2021

Indiana Court of Appeals
Trina M. Spainhower v. Smart & Kessler, LLC (f/k/a Smart Kessler & Lowe, LLC), Smart Kessler Lowe (a/k/a Smart & Kessler), John M. Smart, III, Douglas W. Kessler, and Brian K. Lowe
20A-SC-1629
Small claims. Affirms the Johnson Circuit Court’s denial of a fraud claim filed by Trina Spainhower against Smart & Kessler LLC based on the firm’s representation to her that a consultation would be with a licensed attorney belonging to the firm. Finds Spainhower’s claim was not a claim for legal malpractice because the misrepresentation occurred before she met with Matthew Boehning and did not occur within an attorney-client relationship. Also finds that Spainhower did not meet her burden of proof to show that the misrepresentation was made with an intent to deceive or a reckless ignorance of the truth, as required to prove fraud.

New Hampshire Insurance Company v. Indiana Automobile Insurance Plan
21A-PL-460
Civil plenary. Affirms the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Automobile Insurance Plan in its declaratory judgment action to determine whether it had a duty to indemnify New Hampshire Insurance Company for NHIC’s settlement of a $7.5 million claim pursuant to the parties’ contract. Finds the Marion Superior Court properly interpreted the plain language of the parties’ contract, which required NHIC to seek approval from the plan’s governing committee before settling the claim as a condition precedent to indemnification. Also finds that because there is no genuine issue of material fact that the plan had waived or was estopped from asserting the parties’ Servicing Carrier Agreement contractual requirement that NHIC first obtain its governing committee’s approval to settle before NHIC could obtain indemnification, the trial court properly granted summary judgment on this issue.

County Materials Corp. and Central Processing Corp. v. Indiana Precast, Inc., Ryan S. Gookins, and Ricahrd A. Rectenwal, III
20A-PL-1683
Civil plenary. Affirms the denial of County Materials Corp. and Central Processing Corp.’s motion to correct error and motion for relief from judgment against Indiana Precast Inc., Ryan S. Gookins and Richard A. Rectenwal III. Finds Central failed to establish a meritorious claim, so the Hancock Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in refusing the set aside the final judgment as to Central, nor did it abuse its discretion in denying County’s request to set aside the jury’s verdict and schedule a new trial. Also finds the trial court had no reason to set aside its determination that Central’s claims were both unreasonable and groundless, and it did not abuse its discretion in denying County’s request for relief from judgment on the issue of attorney fees. Denies the Precast parties’ request for appellate attorney fees.

Marcus M. Wilson v. State of Indiana
21A-CR-366
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Marcus Wilson’s motion to suppress. Finds Wilson lacked the requisite privacy interest in the black Tahoe and, therefore, lacked standing to challenge the search of the vehicle.

Paradigm Speedway Small Shops, LLC, and Daniel Klausner v. Crawfordsville Road Partners, LLC, Kennmar Speedway Shops, LLC, and Brent Benge (mem. dec.)
20A-PL-1862
Civil plenary. Reverses the award of summary judgment and attorney fees to Crawfordsville Road Partners LLC, Kennmar Speedway Shops LLC and Brent Benge against Paradigm Speedway Small Shops LLC and Daniel Klausner. Finds genuine issues of material fact exists that must be resolved at trial. Thus, finds summary judgment is inappropriate and the question of attorney fees is not yet ripe. Vacates the attorney fees award as premature. Remands for further proceedings.

Isiah Barboza v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-2346
Criminal. Affirms Isiah Barboza’s aggregate 60-year sentence for Level 1 felony rape and Level 2 felony burglary. Finds Barboza has not met his burden of establishing that his sentence is inappropriate based on the nature of his offenses or his character.

A.G. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-JV-249
Juvenile. Affirms A.G.O.’s adjudication as a juvenile delinquent based on the finding that she committed acts that would be Class B misdemeanor maintaining a common nuisance, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana and Class C misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, if committed by an adult. Finds the Huntington Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence recovered from a search.

In the Matter of R.S. and N.S., Children Alleged to be in Need of Services, M.Y. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JC-435
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the child in need of services determination for mother M.Y.’s two children, R.S. and N.S. Finds Mother has failed to show the Clark Circuit Court’s decision was clearly erroneous.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of M.C. and L.C. (Minor Children) and T.C. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-489
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father T.C.’s parental rights to his minor children. Finds the termination order was supported by clear and convincing evidence.

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