Opinions June 26, 2020

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday.
Carmine Greene v. Westfield Insurance Company
19-2260
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Westfield Insurance in a lawsuit brought by Carmine Greene and neighbors of the VIM Recycling property in Elkhart, seeking an order that Westfield pay toward a $50.56 million environmental pollution damages judgment entered against VIM. Finds that summary judgment for Westfield was proper because two coverage exceptions in the insurance policy apply.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Marion County Circuit Court v. Dustin King
19A-MI-01536
Miscellaneous. Reverses the denial of Marion Superior Court’s motion to dismiss deaf litigant Dustin King’s lawsuit alleging that Marion Circuit Court’s refusal to provide him an American Sign Language Interpreter for his court-ordered modest means family law mediation session violated his rights under the Americans with Disability Act and other federal law. Remands for dismissal, holding the trial court is precluded under the doctrine of res judicata from considering his claim.

Pioneer Retail, LLC D/B/A Wiseway Foods v. Jane Jones, et al.
20A-CT-00083
Civil tort. Affirms the denial of Pioneer Retail’s motion for summary judgment in Jane Jones’ personal injury lawsuit, in which a Lake Superior jury found in her favor and ordered Pioneer to pay damages of more than $479,000. The trial court did not err because as a matter of law Pioneer owed some duty to Jones.

Teresa Blackford v. Welborn Clinic
19A-CT-2054
Civil tort. Reverses in part the Vanderburgh Circuit Court order granting Welborn’s motion for summary judgment in Teresa Blackford’s lawsuit over misstated results of a hepatitis test. Reverses and remands with instructions for the trial court to enter partial summary judgment in favor of Blackford on the issue of timeliness of her complaint under the Indiana Business Trust Act and for further proceedings. Judge Elaine Brown dissents with opinion and would affirm the trial court.

Civilo Cruz v. New Centaur, LLC, Centaur Acquisition, LLC d/b/a Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, Michael E. Lauer, Michael E. Lauer Racing Stables, Inc., Penny Lauer, and Marcelle Martins
19A-CT-3003
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part in Civilo Cruz’s negligence lawsuit arising from a horse-training accident at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Affirms summary judgment for Indiana Grand defendants and reverses the partial judgment for the Lauers, remanding for entry of full summary judgment.

Teresa Tapia Sevilla and Alfonso Sevilla v. Maria Lopez
19A-JP-2016
Juvenile paternity. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s grant of the motion filed by Maria Lopez to dismiss the paternity cause. Finds after granting Teresa Tapia Sevilla and Alfonso Sevilla’s motion to intervene then granting the motion to dismiss, the trial court was extinguishing the Sevillas’ ability to seek visitation with their grandchild. Remands with instructions to enter a paternity order and conduct further proceedings on the request for grandparent visitation.

In Re: The Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of Mal.C.B. and Mak.C.B. (Minor Children); T.C. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JT-3
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother T.C.’s parental rights to her twin sons, concluding there was sufficient evidence in Tippecanoe Superior Court to support the termination.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent Child Relationship of S.M., P.M., and R.M.; M.M. (Father) and R.N. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
19A-JT-2002
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms mother R.N. and father M.M.’s parental rights to their three sons. Finds the Vanderburgh Superior Court did not erroneously deny mother’s motion to dismiss the termination proceedings; any error in the admission of father’s evidence was harmless; DCS did not violate parents’ due process rights; and there is sufficient evidence to support the terminations.

Tara Louise Crump v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-91
Criminal. Affirms Tara Crump’s conviction of Level 4 felony possession of methamphetamine. Finds the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Crump possessed meth and that the LaPorte Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Crump’s counsel’s motion for a competency evaluation.

Demario Banks v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1346
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Demario Banks’ motion for sentence modification, finding that the Vanderburgh Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to modify Banks’ 60-year sentence after his murder conviction.

Kyung Sil Choi, Bo Kang Park, and Han Chong v. Jung Hee Kim (mem. dec.)
19A-PL-1429
Civil plenary. Majority reverses denial of Kyung Sil Choi, Bo Kang Park and Han Chong’s motion to correct an erroneous jury verdict in favor of Jung Hee Kim and damages of $350,000 on her complaint alleging conversion and fraud. Finds Kim failed to establish the elements of theft by a preponderance of the evidence. Finds the Monroe Circuit Court further committed reversible error by emphasizing certain jury instructions after deliberations began. Judge Elizabeth Tavitas concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion, finding the trial court committed reversible error in communicating with the jury but that the COA majority impermissibly reweighed the evidence. She would remand for a new trial.

Michaela M. McKinney, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Delilah M. McKinney v. Indiana Department of Child Services, et al. (mem. dec.)
19A-CT-2873
Civil tort. Affirms the grant of summary judgment for the Department of Child Services in Michaela McKinney’s complaint filed after her severely disabled daughter died while a ward of the department. Finds the Allen Superior Court committed no reversible error.

Fernando Sanchez v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-86
Criminal. Affirms Fernando Sanchez’s 20-year sentence with 10 years suspended for his conviction in Grant Superior Court of Class A felony dealing cocaine. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate.

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of C.C. v. Health and Hospital Corporation d/b/a Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Health (mem. dec.)
19A-MH-2820
Mental health. Affirms the involuntary temporary commitment of C.C., finding sufficient evidence was presented in Marion Superior Court that he was dangerous to others.

Kristopher Mark Hardy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2892
Criminal. Affirms the $4,558.65 restitution order the Hendricks Superior Court imposed on Kristopher Hardy after he pleaded guilty to Level 5 felony burglary. Remands with instructions for the trial court to amend the order to require Hardy to pay the victim $500 and Pekin Insurance $4,058.65.

Effie Rogers, Mother and a/n/f and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Deborah Williams, deceased v. Dr. D and Clinic C
20A-CT-258
Affirms the St. Joseph Circuit Court’s grant of summary judgment for Dr. D and Clinic C, concluding that as a matter of law, Effie Rogers’ claims are time-barred. 

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