Opinions Aug. 30, 2021

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Chad E. Mathis v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a.k.a. METLIFE, et al.,
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge James R. Sweeney II.
Civil. Affirms the Indiana Southern District Court’s dismissal of Dr. Chad Mathis’ negligent-procurement claim with prejudice and the grant of summary judgment to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, MetLife, on most his breach-of-contract claim. Finds the district judge committed no error in disposing of Mathis’s claims.

Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Change of Name and Gender of H.S., a Minor L.S.
Miscellaneous. Affirms the Allen County Superior Court’s denial of L.S.’s petition asking for a gender marker change for her transgender son on his birth certificate. Finds the trial court did not err in its denial and that the family didn’t provide sufficient evidence to prove the change would be in the child’s best interests. Also finds statutory authority does not exist to change a minor’s gender marker. Judges L. Mark Bailey and Rudolph R. Pyle, III concur. Judge Terry Crone dissented and suggested reversing and remanding the decision based on evidence and testimony provided to the courts.

Dan R. Part, et al. Illinois Casualty Company
Civil Plenary. Reverses the Howard Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment finding Illinois Casualty Co. did not owe a duty to defend or indemnify the bars, Big Daddy’s and Little Daddy’s and their owners. Rules the insurer has a duty to defend because the language in the insurance policies unambiguously declares that the root cause of liability is the furnishing of alcohol and some of the claims made by family injured by the patron who drank at Big Daddy’s do not legally rely on the bar causing or contributing to the intoxication. Holds the questions regarding whether Illinois Casualty has a duty to indemnity are premature because the bars have not yet suffered a loss. Remands with instructions that those portions of the Illinois Casualty’s complaint that seek declarations about its duty to indemnify be dismissed without prejudice.

Anthony J. South, II v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Anthony South II’s 25-year sentence for conviction of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finds the Allen Superior Court properly denied South’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Concludes South’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Connie Cocksedge v. Graham R. Cocksedge (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations no children. Reverses and remands the Perry Circuit Court’s dissolution of marriage decree between Connie and Graham Cocksedge. Orders the trial court to correct mathematical errors on the marital-property balance sheet, include a portion of Husband’s worker’s compensation settlement in the marital pot, and formally rule on Husband’s request for incapacity maintenance.

Paternity: Nathan Lummis v. Marlena Anne Friel (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms in part the Madison Circuit Court’s refusal to retroactively modify its child support order for Nathan Lummis to a date preceding the filing of the father’s petition to modify, finding no error. However, reverses in part and remands with instructions upon finding the trial court’s determination of the father’s gross income for 2020 is unsupported by the evidence and is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the trial court.

Tracy Allen v. Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the dismissal of Tracy Allen’s negligence complaint against her employer, Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp., following an injury she sustained on the job. Finds the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act provides the exclusive remedy for Allen’s injury.

Termination: F.R. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination. Affirms the denial of F.R.’s motion for a continuance of the fact-finding hearing on a petition to terminate his parental rights to his minor children, A.M. and F.M. Finds the Lake Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Father’s motion for a continuance.

Patricia Buie v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Patricia Buie’s conviction for Class B misdemeanor battery by bodily waste. Finds sufficient evidence supported her conviction.

Michael A. Wood v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael Wood’s conviction for Level 5 felony possession of methamphetamine, Level 6 felony illegal possession of a syringe, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Finds the search did not violate Wood’s constitutional rights and the trial court did not err by admitting evidence stemming from the warrant.

Jonatan Adorno Morales v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jonatan Adorno Morales’ conviction for Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Christopher Swisher v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of Christopher Swisher’s petition for post conviction relief. Finds Swisher has not met the burden of establishing his grounds for relief by a preponderance of the evidence.

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