Opinions Sept. 17, 2021

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday:
Culver Community Teachers Association, Decatur County Education Association, Smith Green Community Schools Classroom Teachers Association, and West Clark Teachers Associations, West Clark Community Schools v. Indiana Education Employment Relations Board
21S-PL-64
Civil plenary. Affirms the denial of judicial review sought by the Culver Community Teachers Association, the Decatur County Education Association, the Smith-Green Community Schools Classroom Teachers Association and the West Clark Teachers Association after the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board found the parties violated Indiana law by bargaining over impermissible subjects and curtailed the schools’ unfettered authority to direct teachers’ performance of ancillary duties. Finds all four provisions in the four collective bargaining agreements impermissibly bargained over what constitutes an ancillary duty and improperly curtailed the authority of schools to direct their teachers. Also finds that going forward, teachers organizations and schools may bargain over wages for ancillary duties, and describe the conditions with proper disclaimers. Finally, finds the board properly struck the four provisions.

Friday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Olympic Financial Group, Inc. v. State of Indiana
21A-CR-1017
Criminal. Reverses the Jasper Superior Court’s order granting Indiana’s motion to turn seized money over to the federal government in the amount of $709,880. Finds the state failed to prove that the cash was properly seized pursuant to Indiana Code Chapter 34-24-1 and to show it was entitled to a turnover order under Indiana Code § 35-33-5-5(j). Also finds the trial court erred by granting the motion. Remands with instructions that the state reimburse Olympic Financial Group. Judge Nancy Vaidik concurs in result with separate opinion.

S.B. v. State of Indiana
21A-CR-698
Criminal. Affirms the Howard Circuit Court’s 24-year aggregate sentence, with three years suspended to probation, against S.B. for molesting her 3- and 6-year-old sons with her ex-boyfriend C.K. Finds S.B. failed to meet her burden of demonstrating the trial court exceeded its statutory authority. Also finds S.B.’s convictions are not crimes of violence, but her crimes didn’t arise from a single “episode of criminal conduct.” Finally, finds her sentence was not inappropriate based on S.B.’s offenses and character.

In the Matter of the Supervised Estate of Larry J. Blair, Deceased, Samantha Pulliam v. Jeffrey Peconge and Michael Peconge, Laura Jean Hesson, Personal Representative of the Estate of Larry J. Blair
21A-ES-494
Estate, Supervised. Affirms the order from Allen Superior Court that invalidated the transfer of ownership of Larry J. Blair’s home to Samantha Pulliam for $0.00. Finds Pulliam waived the issue of the admissibility of Blair’s medical records, and she had no standing to challenge the trial court’s decision to play the testimony of Blair’s attorney during the hearing because she was not the personal representative of Blair’s estate. Also finds the trial court did not err in finding that Blair’s transfer of his home to Pulliam was procured through her undue influence, nor did it abuse its discretion in setting aside the purchase agreement and quit claim deed directing Blair’s estate to take possession of the home for distribution in accordance with his last will and testament. 

Samantha D. Ellenburg v. Calvin J. Kropp
21A-JP-574
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the grant of physical and sole legal custody to Calvin Kropp of his children with Samantha D. Ellenburg. Finds the Decatur Circuit Court’s decision was in the children’s best interests. Also finds the trial court did not err in granting Kropp custody.

Nicholas D. Houston v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-PC-31
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of Nicholas Houston’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Houston has not shown he was prejudiced by his trial counsel not moving to sever the offenses. Also finds that because Houston has failed to prove that his trial counsel was ineffective, the post-conviction court did not err in denying his petition.

George Ronald Cross v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-202
Criminal. Affirms George Cross’s convictions for Level 6 felony battery against a public safety official and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.  Finds sufficient evidence to support his convictions.

B.B. v. K.B. (mem. dec.)
21A-PO-328
Protective order. Affirms the issuance of a protective order for K.B. against her ex-husband, B.B. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the trial court’s issuance of the protective order based on domestic or family violence. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the Hamilton Superior Court’s issuance of the protective order based on domestic or family violence. Also finds the trial court properly determined B.B. is disqualified from possessing firearms under federal law. Finally, finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering B.B. to pay a portion of K.B.’s counseling expenses and attorney fees under Indiana Code § 34-26-5-9(d)(3).

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: M.R. (Minor Child) and S.T. (Mother) & M.R. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-379
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the involuntary termination of parents S.T. an M.R.’s parental rights to their child, M.R. Finds sufficient evidence to support the termination. Also finds the Johnson Circuit Court was well within its discretion to deny mother’s request to continue the case to give her yet another attempt to treat her addiction to methamphetamine. Finally, finds no merit to mother’s claim that the trial court magistrate lacked authority to enter the termination order.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.G. (Minor Child) and S.D. (Mother) & D.G. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-397
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the involuntary termination of parents S.D. and D.G.’s parental rights to their child, K.G. Finds clear and convincing evidence supports the termination.

Hume Smith Geddes Green & Simmons, LLP v. Paul S. Kruse and Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse (mem. dec.)
21A-CT-414
Civil tort. Affirms and reverses in part the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Hume Smith Geddes Green & Simmons LLP’s non-party petition for Trial Rule 34(C)(3) damages and fees. Finds Kruse was liable for costs and fees that non-party Hume Smith incurred in responding to the request for production of documents. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to order Kruse to pay Olmstead’s fees. Finally, finds Hume Smith has not proven that security for potential future discovery responses is warranted. Remands to determine the amount of reasonable damages for which Kruse is responsible related to the request.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of G.E., Mother, and S.J. and Q.J., Minor Children, G.E. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-472
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother G.E.’s parental rights to her minor children, S.J. and Q.J. Finds the juvenile court’s judgment was not clearly erroneous.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: P.D. (Minor Child) and D.D. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-654
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father D.D.’s parental rights to P.D. Finds the juvenile court’s order is not clearly erroneous.

J.H. v. M.P (mem. dec.)
21A-AD-00740
Adoption. Dismisses without prejudice Jo.H.’s appeal of the finding that his consent to stepfather M.P.’s adoption of his children was not required. Finds the Huntington Circuit Court’s determination that father’s consent was not required was not a final, appealable order, and father failed to have the order certified for a discretionary interlocutory appeal.

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