Opinions May 13, 2020

Indiana Court of Appeals
Tiffany Abbott, Cathie Barnes, and Chandra Gray v. Individual Support Home Health Agency, Inc.
Civil plenary. Reverses the Henry Circuit Court’s order denying the motion to dismiss the complaint filed by Tiffany Abbot, Cathie Barnes and Chandra Gray’s former employer, Individual Support Home Health Agency, Inc. Finds the women’s reports to the Indiana State Department of Health are protected by absolute privilege because the reports initiated a quasi-judicial proceeding. Finds the trial court erred when it denied their motion to dismiss Home Health’s complaint. Remands the case to the trial court with instructions to dismiss Home Health’s complaint.

Byron D. Harris, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses Byron Harris’ sentence and conviction of Level 1 felony attempted murder. Finds that Harris’ due process rights were violated when the Elkhart Circuit Court excluded Harris’ mother from the courtroom during the jury trial. Finds that she is “a person whose presence [was] essential to presenting the party’s claim or defense” under Indiana Evidence Rule 615(c). Also finds that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding her pursuant to the separation of witnesses order. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissents in a separate opinion.

IN RE THE PATERNITY of I.P. by next friend Ashley Souders (Mother) v. Brandon E. Powell (Father)
Juvenile paternity. Reverses the Franklin Circuit Court’s order awarding legal and physical custody of I.P. to father Brandon Powell, finding the trial court abused its discretion in doing so because no evidence shows the modification of custody is in the child’s best interests. Remands for proceedings.

Steven and Kathy Chambers, Stephen and Elizabeth Driscoll, and Perry and Tonya Evans v. Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals, and Rhett and Alan Light (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the Grant Circuit Court’s reversal of the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision to void a permit for Rhett and Alana Light to build several hog barns on their property. Finds the BZA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in voiding their building permit.

James Matthew Hayes v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the Greene Circuit Court’s denial of James Hayes’ petition for post-conviction relief. Finds no clear error in the post-conviction court’s conclusion that Hayes did not meet his burden of establishing ineffective assistance of counsel.

Eric J. Kraus v. Alexandra Lopez (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Affirms the Boone Superior Court’s order denying Eric Kraus’ motion for rule to show cause in which Father sought to have Alexandra Lopez pay a percentage of their son’s field trip costs. Finds the parties’ relevant settlement agreements clearly provide that father is responsible for the costs of the parties’ children’s field trips.

Christopher L. Hodges v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Christopher Hodges’ aggregate sentence of three years for violating the rules as a participant in the Allen Superior Drug Court program. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate.

In the Matter of Ki.H. (Minor Child), A Child in Need of Services; K.H. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Monroe Circuit Court’s finding that K.H.’s minor son, Ki.H. to be a child in need of services. Finds that the Indiana Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to support the CHINS adjudication and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

Gabrial Christor v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Gabrial Christor’s probation and order that he serve his previously suspended sentence. Finds Christor has demonstrated no abuse of discretion in the Clark Circuit Court’s decision to order that he serve the entirety of his previously suspended sentence.

Marvin J. Davis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Marvin Davis’ 15-year sentence for conviction in Allen Superior Court of Level 3 felony rape and Level 6 felony sexual battery. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

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