Opinions Dec. 8, 2021

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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted Dec. 6:
Paul Michael Wilkes v. Celadon Group, Inc., et al.
Civil tort. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s entry of judgment for Celadon and Cummins defendants and against Paul Michael Wilkes. Adopts the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ “Savage rule,” which holds that carriers have the primary duty for loading and securing cargo. Applying the Savage rule, finds the trial court was correct in granting summary judgment for the shipper and its agent and against the driver. Justice Christopher Goff concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion, joined by Justice Steven David. 

Wednesday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
Syndicate Claim Services, Inc. v. Jill Trimmel
Civil plenary. Dismisses Syndicate Claim Services Inc.’s appeal of the denial of its motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiff Jill Trimmel’s claim under Indiana’s Wage Payment Statute. Finds that because Syndicate filed its notice of appeal one week late, it forfeited its appeal under Indiana Appellate Rule 9(A)(5). Also finds there are no extraordinarily compelling reasons to restore the appeal.

Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v. Christina A. Padgett
Civil plenary. Affirms the denial of summary judgment for Franciscan Alliance Inc. on its contract, tort and indemnification claims against Christina A. Padgett but reverses summary judgment in favor of Padgett. Finds the undisputed designated evidence establishes that all Franciscan’s claims were brought within the two-year statute of limitations, so to the extent summary judgment in favor of Padgett was based on the claims having been time-barred, reverses. Also finds that neither party designated evidence establishing whether Padgett was authority to access the confidential patient information at issue or, if she was not, whether her unauthorized actions caused the damages Franciscan incurred in the state’s HIPAA lawsuit against it. Remands for further proceedings.

R.L. Rynard Development, Corp. and Robert L. Rynard, Jr. v. Martinsville Real Property LLC and Magnolia Health Systems 57, LLC
Civil tort. Affirms the grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Martinsville Real Property LLC and Magnolia Health Systems 47, LLC in a dispute with R.L. Rynard Development Corporation. Finds Rynard is equitably estopped from asserting its counterclaim.

Ronak Patel v. US Business Brokers, LLC, Ajinder Singh Sandhu, and Parminder Kaur (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the order granting relief from judgment to U.S. Business Brokers LLC, Ajinder Singh Sandhu and Parminder Kaur in a dispute with Ronak Patel. Finds the St. Joseph Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion.

Robert Harman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Robert Harman’s sentences to six years of incarceration for involuntary manslaughter and one year for failure to report human remains, to be served consecutively. Finds the Huntington Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion.

Kristopher K. Blouir v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Kristopher K. Blouir’s sentence to an aggregate of 36 years, with six years suspended, for his convictions of child molesting as a Level 1 felony and sexual misconduct with a minor as a Level 4 felony. Finds Blouir has not sustained his burden of establishing that his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Phillip W. Deckard v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Phillip Deckard’s 16-year sentence for his conviction of Level 3 felony aggravated battery. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it rejected Deckard’s proposed mitigating circumstances, which were not clearly supported by the record. Also finds Deckard’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offense and his character.

Jason N. Luttrell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jason N. Luttrell’s convictions for dealing in methamphetamine as a Level 2 felony, unlawful possession of a syringe as a Level 6 felony, possession of marijuana as a Class B misdemeanor, operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license as a Class C misdemeanor and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felony as a Level 4 felony, as well as his status as a habitual offender. Finds Luttrell has waived the argument that the traffic stop was improperly prolonged because he did not argue that there was an insufficient basis for the stop. Also finds Luttrell has not demonstrated a violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment or Article 1, Section 11. Finally, finds reversal is not warranted based on Luttrell’s argument of an alleged Brady violation.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: X.M. (Minor Child), and X.H. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father X.H.’s parental rights to his child, X.M. Finds X.H. waived his claim that the Indiana Department of Child Services violated Indiana Code § 31-34-6-2 and, in any case, the record indicates that DCS considered and rejected placement of X.M. with relatives. Also finds the Allen Superior Court did not violate X.H.’s due process rights or otherwise commit clear error when it ordered the termination of his parental rights.

In the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: E.W. and Ev.W. (Minor Children), And L.W. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother L.W.’s parental rights to her minor children, E.W. and Ev.W. Finds the Bartholomew Circuit Court properly terminated L.W.’s parental rights.

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