Opinions May 23, 2022

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Court of Appeals of Indiana
B & B Farm Enterprises, LLC v. Curtis K. Hudson and Cindy L. Hudson Revocable Living Trust: Curtis Hudson
Civil plenary. Reverses the Montgomery Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment to Curtis K. Hudson and Cindy L. Hudson Revocable Living Trust: Curtis Hudson (Neighbor). Finds that the complaint filed by B & B Farm Enterprises, LLC against Neighbor seeks to quiet title and determine whether Neighbor may use the drainage line—an action not subject to a six-year statute of limitations. Remands for further proceedings.   

Tyler A. Smith v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Tyler Smith’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Indiana Criminal Rule 4(B). Finds the Fulton Superior Court did not violate the rule which requires a jury trial be held within 70 days of a speedy trial motion being filed. Holds Fulton County was still reporting a high COVID-19 infection rate and the courthouse did not have adequate facilities to safely conduct a jury trial. Rules the 35-year sentence for attempted murder is not inappropriate. Notes, Smith’s criminal history is a “testament to a disturbing evolution” form minor misdemeanors to carrying a handgun with a license to crime of violence which culminating in shooting a rifle and hitting the victim several times.

Town of Cicero v. Ashok K. Sethi and Meena Sethi Trust
Civil plenary. Affirms in part, reverses in part, remands with instructions. Finds attorney Aaron Culp’s claim of immunity was merely a general denial of liability to Ashok Sethi’s unspecified claim for damages and his statement was not a misrepresentation of either law or fact that resulted in Sethi being “lulled into inaction.” Also finds Sethi had no right to rely on Culp’s statement as a legal excuse for his failure to comply with the Indiana Tort Claims Act notice requirements. Concludes that Sethi has not designated evidence from which a jury could conclude either that the town of Cicero made a misrepresentation of fact or law upon which Sethi reasonably relied or that Sethi exercised due diligence in filing an ITCA notice. Remands for the trial court to enter partial summary judgment for the town on Sethi’s fraud and constructive fraud claims. Holds on cross appeal that Sethi has not shown that a genuine issue of material fact exists regarding whether they substantially complied with the ITCA notice requirement. Finds the trial court did not err.

Jeffrey D. Baker and Lafayette Rentals, Inc., v. F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Associates, LLC
Civil Plenary. Affirms the denial of Jeffrey Baker’s motion to set aside the default judgment. Finds the Tippecanoe Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion. Rules the defendants did not demonstrate they were entitled to relief from judgment under Indiana Trial Rule 60(B). Holds the trial court did not err in awarding attorney fees to Paschen because the lease included a provision that allowed for such an award.

Harold C. Merchant and Debrah M. Merchant v. Michael Ashley and Anite Ashley (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the denial of Harold and Debrah Merchant’s claims against Michael and Anite Ashley for allegedly violating restrictive covenants and maintaining a nuisance. Finds the Randolph Circuit Court didn’t clearly err on either issue. Finds testimony supports the Ashleys on both issues and that the Merchants are asking to reweigh evidence.

Joseph Peerson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Joseph Peerson’s sentence of 25 years in prison, with 12 years executed and 13 suspended to probation, for Level 2 felony dealing in methamphetamine. Finds the sentence is within the range authorized by state statute. Finds Peerson received a capped sentence and the dismissal of several serious charges in exchange for his plea of guilty. Concludes his character doesn’t warrant a revision.

Vernon Joseph Farmer v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal.  Affirms Vernon Joseph Farmer’s conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter as a Level 2 felony. Finds the Jasper Superior Court didn’t abuse its discretion when it gave instructions to the jury on attempted voluntary manslaughter as well as attempted murder because there was “some evidence” of sudden heat.

 Octavius Morris v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Miami Correctional Facility inmate Octavius Morris’ sentence of four years incarceration for Level 5 felony battery resulting in bodily injury to a public safety official. Finds the sentence was appropriate in light of Morris’ character.

Matthew Haroulakis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Matthew Haroulakis’ conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Finds the evidence amply supports an inference that Haroulakis’s touching of his ex-wife was done in a rude, insolent or angry fashion.

Dusty Krisher v. Andrew Krisher (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations no children. Affirms Miami Superior Court’s denial of retroactively applying child support to the date of the petition for dissolution for Andrew Krisher. Finds it’s within the trial court’s direction to award back to the date of filing or any date thereafter for child support.

G.B. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms G.B.’s juvenile adjudication for carrying a handgun without a license, a class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the adjudication.

David D. Beal v. Brooklyn Sloss (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the Lake Superior Court’s findings regarding legal and physical custody and relocation of David D. Beal and Brooklyn Sloss’ child. Finds the findings support the trial court’s judgment. However, finds Beal’s appeal is not permeated with frivolity or bad faith such that an award of appellate costs would be appropriate. Denies Brooklyn Sloss’ request for appellate attorney fees.

Darren Huggins v. Payless Liquor and Zore’s Towing, Inc. (mem. dec.)
Affirms Marion Small Claims Court, Warren Township Division’s judgment in favor of Payless Liquor and Zore’s Towing over Darren Huggins. Finds Huggins parked his box truck in Payless Liquor’s parking lot without permission and a sign had been posted saying violators would be towed. Concludes the court’s judgment was not clearly erroneous.

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