Opinions Dec. 14, 2023

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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline on Wednesday:
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Chadrick Fulks v. T. J. Watson, et al.
22-3308
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Judge James Hanlon.
Prisoner. Affirms the district court’s dismissal with prejudice of Chadrick Fulkss entire action against six prison officials at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute after the court found Fulks had knowingly proffered a forged document and perjured testimony. Finds the district court properly considered other sanctions before settling on dismissal. Also finds the district court did not abuse its discretion by sweeping away Fulks’ sexual assault claim against the penitentiary’s medical director along with the rest of his case.

Indiana Supreme Court
Brent Taylor v. Allen County Board of Commissioners, et al.
23S-CT-378
Civil tort. Vacates the Court of Appeals of Indiana’s order dismissing Brent Taylor’s appeal. Finds Taylor’s appeal of the DeKalb Superior Court’s order that dismissed his lawsuit against the Allen County Board of Commissioners and granted judgment on the pleadings to the Allen County Public Defender’s Office and two individual public defenders was prematurely dismissed. Remands for the Court of Appeals to resume jurisdiction over the appeal.

Thursday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
BMI Properties, LLC v. Daewoong, LLC; Tabor/Bruce Architecture & Design, Inc.; Building Associates, Inc.; and Edwards Masonry, Inc.
23A-PL-988
Civil plenary. Reverses the Monroe Circuit Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Tabor/Bruce Architecture & Design Inc., Building Associates Inc. and Edwards Masonry Inc. Finds that neither the acceptance rule nor the economic loss rule entitles the defendants to summary judgment. Remands to the trial court for further proceedings.

T.T. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
23A-JV-1274
Juvenile. Affirms T.T.’s adjudication in Marion Superior Court as a delinquent for committing dangerous possession of a firearm. Finds the state presented evidence of a probative nature from which a reasonable trier of fact could find that T.T. committed dangerous possession of a firearm.

In the Matter of I.S. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services R.S. (Father) and S.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
23A-JC-1097
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Allen Superior Court’s ruling that I.S. is a child in need of services. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the chronological case summaries through judicial notice and did not judicially notice facts concerning the remaining challenged findings. Also finds the evidence was sufficient to conclude the child was a CHINS.

Katie Arnold v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
23A-CR-1376
Criminal. Affirms Katie Arnold’s conviction of battery resulting in bodily injury as a Class A misdemeanor. Finds the state presented evidence of a probative nature from which a reasonable trier of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that Arnold did not validly act in self-defense and that she was guilty of battery resulting in bodily injury as a Class A misdemeanor.

Lasean Watkins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
23A-CR-1109
Criminal. Affirms Lasean Watkins’ convictions of four counts of murder and four counts of robbery as a Level 5 felony. Finds the evidence is sufficient.

Jacob Dale Rice v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
23A-CR-623
Criminal. Affirms Jacob Dale Rice’s sentence to an aggregate of 36 years for one count of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, one count of Level 6 felony criminal recklessness, one count of Level 6 felony theft of a firearm and one count of Level 6 felony theft. Finds the Bartholomew Circuit Court did not abuse its sentencing discretion in its consideration of aggravating circumstances.

Kyrell D. Cole v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-2571
Criminal. Affirms Kyrell Cole’s murder conviction and his 60-year sentence, enhanced by 15 years for his use of a firearm during his offense, in Madison Circuit Court. Finds Cole waived appellate review of his evidentiary claim by failing to request a continuance at trial. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when sentencing Cole. Finally, finds Cole’s 75-year aggregate sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Edgardo Martinez and the Law Office of Edgardo Martinez v. The Amicus Legal Group, The Law Office of Ruth M. Rivera, LLC, and Ruth Rivera (mem. dec.)
23A-PL-1194
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Ruth Rivera for $158,302.31 against Edgardo Martinez and The Law Office of Edgardo Martinez for their alleged failure to pay Rivera under an oral contract for her legal and paralegal services. Finds Rivera’s own designated evidence presented conflicting facts as to the frequency with which the Martinezes were required to pay her, the period in which they allegedly failed to pay and the amount of interest, if any, they accrued during their period of nonpayment. Remands for further proceedings.

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