Opinions Nov. 12, 2021

Court of Appeals of Indiana
Benjamin Coplan, M.D., Laxeshkumar Patel, M.D., John Schiltz, M.D., Christine Tran, M.D., Community Health Network, Inc., d/b/a Community Hospital Howard Regional Health Hospital and Community Howard Behavioral Health, Community Physicians of Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Community Physician Network, Community Howard Regional Health, Inc., Timothy Held, P.A., and Medical Associates LLP v. Betty Miller, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of John Allen Miller
Civil tort.
Affirms the denial of summary judgment to Drs. Benjamin Coplan, Laxeshkumar Patel, John Schiltz and Christine Tran, Community Hospital Howard Regional Health Hospital and Community Howard Behavioral Health, Community Physician Network, Community Howard Regional Health Inc., Timothy Held and Medical Associates LLP in a dispute with Betty Miller, individually and as personal representative of the estate of John Allen Miller. Finds that the imminent danger prong in Indiana Code § 34-30-16-1 allows consideration of all Zachary Miller’s conduct and statements during the month leading up to John’s murder. Also finds the providers are not entitled to summary judgment because the providers do not dispute that the totality of Zachary’s conduct and statements over that period could lead a reasonable trier of fact to find an imminent danger existed. Finally, finds physician assistants are not mental health service providers and thus are not entitled to the protections of I.C. 34-30-16-1.

Esther Jane Stephen v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Esther Jane Stephen’s felony murder conviction and her 55-year advisory sentence. Finds sufficient evidence exists to support Stephen’s conviction for murder. Also finds the Jay Circuit Court did not commit fundamental error in instructing the jury regarding the state’s burden of proof. Finally, finds the sentencing not inappropriate considering the nature of the offense or her character.

J.H. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Reverses the Lake Superior Court’s denial of J.H.’s motion for relief from judgment in which he challenged the court’s decision to place him in the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in denying J.H.’s motion for relief from judgment. Remands with instructions to vacate the order placing J.H. in the custody of DOC and to hold a new factfinding and dispositional hearing on the original delinquency petition.

Paris Donson v. Dejah Thompson and State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the denial of Paris Donson’s motion to terminate judgment of paternity and support, which Marion Circuit Court treated as an Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) motion for relief from judgment. Finds Donson’s opportunity to make a jurisdictional challenge is over, and the issue over whether the trial court had personal jurisdiction over him is res judicata. Also finds the paternity order is not void for lack of jurisdiction and any further challenges by Donson on this basis are meritless and should be outright dismissed without a hearing.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of M.W. (Minor Child) and J.B. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father J.B.’s parent-child relationship with child M.W. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the Vigo Circuit Court’s termination order.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: G.K., N.K., and L.K. (Minor Children), and L.A.K., Jr. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father L.A.K’s parental rights to his three children. Finds the evidence supports the Vanderburgh Superior Court’s termination and the trial court didn’t clearly err.

Stephen Alexander, et al. v. Davis Hotel Capital, Inc. (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Affirms the Marion Circuit Court’s confirmation of an arbitration award to Davis Hotel Capital Inc. Finds the arbitrator properly exercised his powers in awarding the fees that it did to Davis, so the trial court did not clearly err. Also finds the arbitration award in Davis’ favor was proper, and the trial court correctly confirmed the award. Denies Davis’ request for appellate attorney fees on cross-appeal.

Julia Taylor v. St. Vincent Salem Hospital, Inc. (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Affirms the Washington Circuit Court’s dismissal of the portion of Julia Taylor’s complaint seeking a class action declaratory judgment for toxicology bills issued after a suspected OWI. Finds any error committed by the trial court by ignoring the substance of the Darnell order is harmless because the court did not apply collateral estoppel or claim preclusion to the facts of the case. Also finds the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion and its order denying declaratory relief was not clearly erroneous. Finally, finds Taylor has waived her argument that the trial court erred by stating in its order that she and those in the class “who have been found in violation of the law for driving while impaired by alcohol or illegal substances must stand their costs as they apply.”

Zak Hiatt v. Jaime Haines and Jeremy Haines (mem. dec.)
Small claims. Affirms the damages awarded to Jaime and Jeremy Haines in small claims court after a retention wall they ordered deteriorated on their property. Finds there’s sufficient evidence presented to support the small claims court’s damages awarded.

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