Opinions Dec. 12, 2023

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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline on Friday:
Thomas DeCola v. Norfolk Southern Corporation
Civil plenary. Grants transfer and dismisses for lack of jurisdiction Thomas DeCola’s appeal of the denial of his motion for summary judgment. Finds the LaPorte Circuit Court’s entry was not final because it did not resolve all claims as to all parties. Remands for further proceedings.

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline on Monday:
In the Matter of Angela Sallee Field Trapp
Attorney discipline. Suspends Angela Sallee Field Trapp for 30 days with automatic reinstatement beginning Jan. 22, 2024. Finds Trapp committed attorney misconduct by impermissibly communicating with a represented person about the subject of the representation and knowingly making false statements to a court about the impermissible communication. Justice Derek Molter concurs in part and dissents in part as to the sanction, believing a public reprimand is warranted.

Tuesday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
Charles Jennings v. Jessica A. Smiley and Progressive Southeastern Insurance Company
Civil tort. Affirms the jury verdict finding Charles Jennings 99% at fault and Jessica Smiley 10% at fault after Smiley struck Jennings with her car while he was crossing the street, and the subsequent judgment in favor of Smiley. Finds the Hamilton Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Jennings’ motion to compel.

Douglas P. Schenkel v. Jennifer S. Schenkel (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Affirms the Allen Circuit Court’s orders on father Douglas Schenkel’s motion to modify his child support obligation. Finds the trial court did not clearly err when it followed the Child Support Guidelines and modified Schenkel’s child support obligation, or when it granted his motion to correct error and selected Jan. 5, 2022, as the effective date for the modification. Also finds the trial court did not clearly err when it declined to credit Douglas for the cost of the child’s private school education. Judge Elizabeth Tavitas concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion.

Jamie B. Rund v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jamie Rund’s convictions of Level 5 felony intimidation and Level 5 felony criminal recklessness. Finds the prosecutor’s passing inartfulness did not rise to the level of reversible error under the probable impact test. Also finds the Brown Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in the admission of evidence.

L.I.A. Enterprises, LLC v. Michael L. Britton (mem. dec.)
Petition for tax deed. Reverses the grant of Michael L. Britton’s Trial Rule 60(B) motion, filed after the Lake Circuit Court granted L.I.A. Enterprises LLC’s petition for a tax deed. Finds L.I.A. demonstrated prima facie error in the order setting aside the judgment under Trial Rule 60(B) on the basis of fraud on the court. Remands with instructions to reinstate the original judgment and restore L.I.A.’s tax deed for the property.

Brandon Artis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brandon Artis’ convictions of murder, Level 3 felony robbery, Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and two counts of Level 5 felony intimidation. Finds the Vanderburgh Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted gun-purchase evidence as relevant evidence. Also finds the trial court did not commit fundamental error when it admitted the gun-purchase evidence and photographs of Artis wearing a gold necklace.

City of Hobart v. Teddian Jackson, Individually, Montego Bay Restaurant Group, LLC and Hobart Holdings, LLC (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the Lake Superior Court’s order setting aside the dismissal of a complaint for declaratory judgment filed by Teddian Jackson, individually, Montego Bay Restaurant Group LLC and Hobart Holdings LLC. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parental Relationship of F.F., Mother, and D.K.F., Minor Child, F.F. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, and Kids’ Voice of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother F.F.’s parental rights to D.K.F. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not err.

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