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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues four today

In Keaton & Keaton, P.C. v. R. Mark Keaton, et al., a 6-page 5-0, decision, Justice Boehom writes:

Unfair competition includes both the tort of “passing off” and trade name infringement. We hold that “passing off” requires intentional misrepresentation or deception but trade name infringement does not. * * *

Conclusion. Transfer is granted. The trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the Fort Wayne firm on all of the Rushville P.C.’s claims is affirmed.

Shepard, C.J., Sullivan, and Rucker, JJ. concur.
Dickson, J., concurs in result.

In Marsha Ledbetter v. Robert Hunter, M.D., Lawrence Benken, M.D. and Ball Memorial Hospital, a 7-page, 5-0, opinion, Justice Dickson writes:
In this appeal following the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint alleging medical negligence, the Court of Appeals concluded that the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act's statute of limitations regarding claims of minors violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution. Ledbetter v. Hunter, 810 N.E.2d 1095, 1103 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004). We granted transfer, thereby automatically vacating the opinion of the Court of Appeals, and now deny the plaintiff's claim that the challenged statutory provision is unconstitutional. * * *

We conclude that the plaintiff has failed to overcome the presumption of constitutionality that must be accorded the Medical Malpractice Act limitation period for minors. Transfer having previously been granted, we affirm the trial court judgment dismissing this action.

In Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Jon Harvey, Misty Johnson, as Co-Personal Representative of the Estate of Brandy Nicole Harvey and Toby Michael Gearheart, a 16-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:
This interlocutory appeal challenges the denial of summary judgment in an insurance policy coverage dispute. Finding that the insured's statements and his plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter conclusively established his alleged tortious act was committed "knowingly or intentionally," the Court of Appeals held that coverage for the claim was excluded by the policy's definition and requirement of an "occurrence," and it remanded for the entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer. We granted transfer and now affirm the trial court['s decision to deny the Auto-Owners motion for summary judgment]. * * *

Because Auto-Owners has failed to demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding Gearheart's intent to harm Brandy, the trial court was correct to deny summary judgment on the Auto-Owners claimed application of the coverage exclusion.

In Allstate Insurance Company v. Ted & Rosella Fields and Jimmie Woodley, a 7-page, 5-0, opinion, Justice Dickson writes:
Allstate Insurance Company initiated this interlocutory appeal when the trial court denied its motion seeking relief under Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) from an order defaulting Allstate on li-ability and set the case for trial on damages only after Allstate refused to comply with court or-ders. This appeal challenges not only the denial of Allstate's motion for relief from default, but also the denial of its motions for partial summary judgment and for an order in limine limiting evidence at the damages trial. Allstate had not obtained or sought trial court certification pursu-ant to Appellate Rule 14(B) to bring an interlocutory appeal on any of the issues. The plain-tiffs/appellees, Ted and Rosella Fields, challenged the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in an unsuccessful motion to strike and dismiss and again in their reply brief. The Court of Appeals found that it had jurisdiction under Indiana Trial Rule 60(C) because one issue was the denial of relief from the default, and it also concluded that Indiana Appellate Rule 66(B) provided a basis for it to exercise appellate jurisdiction over the other interlocutory issues, ultimately deciding that one of these other issues, the denial of Allstate's motion for partial summary judgment, was incorrectly decided. Woodley v. Fields, 819 N.E.2d 123, 130, 132-33 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004). We granted transfer, thereby automatically vacating the decision of the Court of Appeals pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 58(A), and we now dismiss the appeal, holding that Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) authorizes a motion for relief only from final, not interlocutory, orders, and that no appeal may be taken under Trial Rule 60(C) from the denial of a motion for relief from an interlocutory order granting default judgment on less than all issues. * * *

The conclusion of the Court of Appeals that it had jurisdiction to address Allstate's interlocutory challenges is predicated on its mistaken assumption that Rule 60(C) automatically permits an immediate appeal from the denial of a 60(B) motion for relief from the order of default. Woodley, 819 N.E.2d at 131-32. Thus finding jurisdiction under Rule 60(C), the court proceeded to "invoke our discretion" under Appellate Rule 66(B) and address "all of Allstate's issues raised on appeal." Id. at 130. Since the time the Court of Appeals issued its decision in the present case, however, we decided Daimler Chrysler Corp. v. Yaeger, 838 N.E.2d 449 (Ind. 2005), in which we held "that Appellate Rule 66(B) does not authorize an interlocutory appeal that fails to comply with Appellate Rule 14," id. at 449-50, and dismissed the appeal because Daimler Chrysler had failed to first seek and obtain certification from the trial court authorizing an appeal from the interlocutory order. Id. at 450.

In view of the absence of jurisdiction to decide Allstate's appeal from the denial of its motion for relief from the interlocutory entry of default, we conclude that there is no jurisdiction under Appellate Rule 66(B) to decide any of the other issues raised by Allstate in this appeal. Having previously granted transfer, thereby vacating the decision of the Court of Appeals, this appeal is now dismissed, and the cause remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 22, 2006 12:01 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions