Opinions May 29, 2020

Indiana Supreme Court
River Ridge Development Authority v. Outfront Media, LLC, David Watkins, No Moore, Inc., the Schlosser Family Limited Partnership, the Town of Utica, and the Utica Board of Zoning Appeals
19S-PL-645
Civil plenary. Reverses the Clark Circuit Court’s award of $237,440.63 in attorney fees to Outfront Media, LLC, David Watkins, No Moore, Inc., the Schlosser Family Limited Partnership, the Town of Utica, and the Utica Board of Zoning Appeals. Holds that the trial court’s decision was an abuse of discretion. Neither the common-law obdurate behavior exception nor the General Recovery Rule — both of which require a “prevailing party” — allow an award of attorney fees when a party voluntarily dismisses its complaint, as River Ridge did. The record also lacks evidence to show that River Ridge litigated in bad faith and that its conduct was calculatedly oppressive, obdurate, or obstreperous.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael O. Cain and Linda A. Raymond v. William J. Huff, II, Revocable Trust Declaration, Dated June 28, 2011, and Nicole E. Huff Revocable Trust Declaration, Dated June 28, 2011
19A-PL-2176
Civil. Affirms the Monroe Circuit Court’s denial of Michael Cain’s renewed motion and new motion seeking to enjoin William and Nicole Huff from using a road in an easement in Cain’s residential neighborhood to conduct logging activities on the Huffs’ real estate. Finds the trial court did not err by denying Cain’s motions.

Timothy J. Brown v. Indiana Department of Environmental Management
19A-MI-02051
The Indiana Court of Appeals has again rejected a Monroe County resident’s requested preliminary injunction that would prevent logging from taking place on land near his home. The trial court did not err in concluding the State Employees’ Appeals Commission’s decision that Brown was not a whistleblower was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. Also finds that it did not err in concluding the SEAC’s decision was supported by substantial evidence.

Justin Scruggs v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2409
Criminal. Affirms Justin Scruggs’ aggregate 50-year sentence for conviction of Class A felony child molesting, two counts of Level 1 felony child molesting and Class C felony child molesting. Finds the Madison Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it imposed consecutive sentences, and Scruggs’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offenses and his character.

Tirrell Orr v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1985
Criminal. Affirms Tirrell Orr’s conviction of Level 6 felony theft. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction in Marion Superior Court.

Garrett Andrew Plumlee v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2553
Criminal. Affirms Garrett Plumlee’s conviction in Vanderburgh Circuit Court of two counts of possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon, a Level 4 felony. Finds that the admission of the handguns into evidence did not violate either the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution, among other things.

Brandon L. Shockley v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-161
Criminal. Affirms Brandon Shockley’s conviction of Level 6 felony auto theft and Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement. Finds Hancock Superior Court did not err in admitting evidence or testimony.

Scott Floyd v. St. Joseph County (mem. dec.)
19A-CT-2406
Civil tort. Affirms a jury’s award in favor of St. Joseph County against Scott Floyd. Finds that the trial court did not err when it rejected Floyd’s proffered final jury instruction on spoliation and that Floyd has not shown that the county committed fraud or misconduct in the discovery process or that he was prejudiced by the county’s actions.

D.W. v. V.W. (mem. dec.)
19A-PO-2095
Protective order. Affirms the Tippecanoe Superior Court’s August 15, 2019 order granting an ex parte order of protection against him. Finds that the trial court did not err in concluding it possessed personal jurisdiction or that D.W. has not demonstrated he was prejudiced by the date of the hearing or that reversal is warranted on this basis. Finds sufficient evidence to support the order.

Sidney A. Berry v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2825
Criminal. Affirms Sidney Berry’s aggregate 10-year sentence imposed for conviction in Allen Superior Court of Level 4 felony possession of cocaine and Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate.

In the Matter of the Termination of Parent-Child Relationships of A.Q., K.Q., and R.Q. (Minor Children), R.O. (Mother), and C.Q. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
19A-JT-1997
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of R.O. and C.Q.’s parent-child relationships with A.Q., K.Q., and R.Q. Finds their due process rights were not violated during the CHINS and/or termination proceedings in Lawrence Circuit Court.

Taylor Golder v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2938
Criminal. Affirms Taylor Golder’s conviction in Marion Superior Court of Class A misdemeanor battery. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

In the Matter of A.G. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services, J.L. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JC-298
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of A.G. as a child in need of services. Finds the Montgomery Circuit Court’s findings and adjudication of A.G. as a CHINS are not clearly erroneous.

Lavardis L. Casey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-35
Criminal. Affirms Lavardis Casey’s aggregate 10-year sentence for conviction in Lake Superior Court of Level 5 felony battery with serious bodily injury and for being a habitual offender.

RE/MAX at the Crossing v. Telecom, LLC d/b/a Priority Communications (mem. dec.)
20A-PL-236
Civil plenary. Affirms the grant of summary judgment in Marion Superior Court as to both liability and damages for Telecom, LLC d/b/a Priority Communications against RE/MAX at the Crossing after the latter terminated the parties’ contract early. Finds no error occurred.

Ted E. Geisleman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-4
Criminal. Affirms Ted Geisleman’s sentence for conviction in Allen Superior Court of Level 3 felony dealing in cocaine, three counts of Level 4 felony dealing in cocaine, Level 5 felony counts of dealing in a narcotic drug and operating a motor vehicle after a lifetime suspension, Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance, and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Finds that Geisleman’s sentence of 12 years executed in the Department of Correction is not inappropriate in light of the offense and his character.

Cameron Wood v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-3075
Criminal. Affirms Cameron Wood’s aggregate 18-year sentence for conviction of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and Level 5 felony reckless homicide. However, finds the Howard Superior Court erred in calculating his credit time. Remands with instructions to remand the credit time.

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