Opinions Nov. 17, 2021

Court of Appeals of Indiana
Tracey Wheeler v. State of Indiana and Indiana Department of Corrections
Miscellaneous. Reverses the Perry Circuit Court’s dismissal of a negligence complaint by prisoner Tracey Wheeler against the Indiana Department of Correction and remands for further proceedings. Finds Wheeler adequately stated a cause for negligence and the DOC appeared to concede as much by abandoning their challenge to the sufficiency of the allegations. Also finds Wheeler was not required to plead exhaustion of remedies to state a claim for relief. Affirms the dismissal of any other putative claims contained in the complaint by Wheeler.

Liberty First Bank v. Automotive Finance Corporation d/b/a AFC Automotive Finance Corporation d/b/a AFC
Civil collection. Affirms the Marion Circuit Court’s denial of Liberty State Bank’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Finds Liberty waived any claims that the trial court lacked jurisdiction when it complied with the notice and order and put Sheryl Turkia’s bank account on hold without objection.

Adam Lee Jones v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Adam Lee Jones’ convictions of several counts of child molesting. Finds Jones was not entitled to separate trials and the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by denying his motion to sever. Also finds the evidence was sufficient to support Jones’ conviction of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finally, finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court didn’t abuse its discretion as to aggravators, and Jones’ sentence of 78 years, with five years suspended to house arrest and probation, is not inappropriate.

Daunte Lukan Garner v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Daunte Lukan Garner’s conviction of possession of methamphetamine. Finds the evidence of five bags of meth in Garner’s pants sufficient to support his conviction.

Lawrence Elvis Riles, III v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Lawrence Elvis Riles III’s conviction of Level 6 felony residential entry. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Riles’ conviction.

Chris Lawrence Rochefort v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the Lake Superior Court’s revocation of Chris Lawrence Rochefort’s probation on community corrections. Finds Rochefort’s acknowledged in the trial court that his failure to return constituted a violation of the community corrections program. Also finds Rochefort indicated he was ready to proceed, did not have any evidence and the court gave Rochefort the opportunity to speak.

In the Matter of A.S. (Child), D.S. (Child), and W.S. (Child) Children in Need of Services, A.S. and J.S. (Parents) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Hendricks Superior Court’s adjudication of A.S., D.S. and W.S. as children in need of services. Finds the trial court properly adjudicated the children as CHINS and properly admitted mother A.S.’s past criminal record.

In the Matter of M.R.F. and A.T.B., Children in Need of Services, B.E. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms THE Allen Superior Court’s adjudication of M.R.F. and A.T.B. as children in need of services. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding stepfather B.E. failed to show good cause for a continuance, and even if that had been an abuse of discretion, Stepfather has not demonstrated prejudice.

In the Matter of M.J. and Z.J., Children in Need of Services, T.J., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services and Kids’ Voice of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s adjudication of M.J. and Z.J. as children in need of services. Finds the findings of the juvenile court were not clearly erroneous, and those findings support the judgment that the children were CHINS. Also finds the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by issuing dispositional and parental participation orders.

In Re: The Paternity of A.E.H.; Christian J. Halterman (Father) v. Kristiana M. Seeker (Mother) (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the Adams Circuit Court’s modification of Christian J. Halterman’s parenting time with his child A.H. and his child support obligation. Reverses and remands with instructions to remove mother Kristiana Seeker’s credit for the health insurance premium and to recalculate the father’s child support obligation, and to clarify in its order that Halterman is not responsible for paying any uninsured expenses when Seeker declines to use the medical insurance that Halterman provides for A.H. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in modifying Halterman’s child support obligation. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying Halterman’s parenting time.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: D.E., and M.E. (Minor Children), and J.E. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the involuntary termination of parental rights of father J.E. to D.E. and M.E. Finds J.E. is not entitled to a reversal on the grounds that the Madison Circuit Court failed to continue the hearing. Also finds J.E. has waived his argument regarding his due process rights. Finally, finds J.E. does not challenge any of the trial court’s findings or conclusions on appeal.

Brown & Brown Attorneys-At-Law, P.C. v. Timothy S. Schafer, Schafer & Schafer, and Schafer & Schafer, LLP (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the denial of Brown & Brown Attorneys-At-Law’s motion for partial summary judgment with respect to a division-of-fees agreement between them and Schafer & Schafer, LLP. Finds the designated evidence demonstrates a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the parties had a meeting of the minds on applying the division-of-fees agreement to fees for the prejudgment interest.

James David Boyd v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms the Wells Circuit Court’s denial of post-conviction relief for James David Boyd. Finds the post-conviction court properly rejected Boyd’s claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that Boyd’s impeachment evidence claim is barred by res judicata because it was already litigated on direct appeal.

Dwane Ingalls v. Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC, (mem. dec.)
Small claims. Affirms judgment for Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC by the Johnson Circuit and Superior courts. Finds, waiver notwithstanding, the trial court’s judgment was not clearly erroneous.

Calvin Hair v. Dennis Goldsberry, et. al (mem. dec.)
Verified petition for issuance of a tax deed. Affirms and reverses in part the Marion Superior Court’s order granting Dennis L. and Linda S. Goldsberry and JPMorgan Chase Bank’s motion to enforce a settlement agreement and the denial of Calvin Hair’s motions to tax attorney fees and to amend his complaint. Finds the trial court properly enforced the settlement agreement apart from the specific release provisions not agreed upon by the parties. Reverses those parts of the trial court’s order and remands to reissue its order excluding the specific release provisions.

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