Opinions Feb. 13, 2023

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The following Indiana Tax Court opinion is dated Jan. 5, 2023, and was posted on Feb. 10, 2023:
Covance Central Laboratory Services LP v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
Tax. Grants summary judgment to the Indiana Department of State Revenue and against Covance Central Laboratory Services LP on the issues of whether Covance’s 2011-2013 utility purchases qualified for Indiana’s research and development equipment sales tax exemption, and whether the department erred when it granted an exemption to Covance’s 2013-2018 utility under purchases related to its research and development property. Denies summary judgment to both parties on the issue of whether the Tax Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to determine whether Covance’s utility purchases qualified for Indiana’s manufacturing exemptions because there is no final determination concerning these issues. Finally, grants summary judgment to the department and against Covance on the issue of whether Covance waived its claim that the department violated its constitutional rights to due process and equal protection because they were not adequately pled.

Monday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
Penny Chappey and Gregory Chappey v. Joseph Paul Storey and Complete Auto & Tire, LLC
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for the defendants on Penny Chappey’s negligence complaint. Finds the Carroll Circuit Court judge was biased. Also finds there is a genuine issue of material fact that precludes the entry of summary judgment. Remands with instructions that the plaintiffs are entitled to a new judge.

Indiana Repertory Theatre, Inc. v. The Cincinnati Casualty Company
Civil plenary. Affirms the denial of insurance coverage to the Indiana Repertory Theatre on the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic physically altered the theater’s air and surfaces, thus entitling it to loss-of-use coverage based on physical loss. Finds, as a matter of law, that virus particles do not cause physical loss or damage to property so as to qualify as a covered loss under the terms of IRT’s policy.

Dennis R. Deaton v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the Kosciusko Circuit Court’s denial of Dennis Deaton’s motion to suppress certain evidence discovered in his vehicle during an inventory search conducted after his vehicle was impounded. Finds that the inventory search of Deaton’s vehicle did not violate the Fourth Amendment or Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

Leon David Lehman v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Adams Superior Court’s judgment that Leon Lehman committed operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, a Class A misdemeanor, and a light restriction violation, a Class C infraction.  Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence garnered from a constitutionally valid traffic stop. Also finds the evidence supported the trial court’s judgment. Judge Nancy Vaidik concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of I.H. and C.M (Minor Children) And B.H., et al. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the Montgomery Superior Court’s termination of mother C.H. and father B.H.’s parental rights to their minor children. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence the children’s out-of-court statements made for the purpose of medical treatment. Also finds the Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to support its petitions to terminate the parent-child relationship.

Mario R. Tellis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Mario Tellis’ conviction of Level 3 felony aggravated battery. Finds Tellis’ Sixth Amendment rights were not violated. Also finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting Shakia Tucker’s statements to Detective Lorna Russell under the forfeiture by wrongdoing doctrine. Finally, finds Tellis’ 15-year sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Scott J. Bastin and Jennifer L. Bastin v. Blair N. Burns, State of Indiana, Indiana Department of Transportation and Carl C. Chan (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s summary judgment in favor of Car Chan. Finds the trial court did not err in entering summary judgment in favor of Chan.

In the Matter of the Adoption of I.M. and R.M., Minor Children, T.M. v. A. M. and Z.K. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Affirms the Vanderburgh Superior Court’s decree of adoption granting stepfather Z.K.’s petition to adopt minor children I.M. and R.M. Finds the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court’s conclusion that the father failed without justifiable cause failed to communicate significantly with the children for a period of at least a year, and therefore the trial court did not err in holding that father’s consent was not necessary for the adoption.

Brandon A. Conn v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brandon Conn’s sentence after he entered into a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to carrying a handgun without a license, a Level 5 felony, and two probation violations. Finds the plain language of the plea agreement is unambiguous. Also finds the Cass Circuit Court sentenced Conn within the terms of that agreement.

Brody Alan Gilmore v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brody Gilmore’s conviction of aggravated battery. Finds the state produced sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction.

Scott Allen Weldy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Scott Weldy’s conviction of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finds the evidence was sufficient.

Michael Andrei Galateanu v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael Galateanu’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy. Finds Galateanu failed to request a continuance when the Lake Superior Court allowed a pretrial amendment to the charging information over his objection, so he has waived that issue. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded Galateanu’s proposed Exhibit A as irrelevant.

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