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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 17 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In MH Equity Managing Member, LLC v. Debra K. Sands , a 12-page opinion, Judge Bailey writes:

MH Equity Managing Member, LLC (“Managing Member”) appeals an order of the Marion County Superior Court enforcing a settlement agreement between Managing Member and Debra K. Sands (“Sands”) providing for dismissal with prejudice of a complaint alleging that Sands had breached a fiduciary duty in performing services for MH Private Equity Fund, LLC (“MH Equity”). We affirm.

Managing Member presents two issues for review: I. Whether the trial court erroneously extended comity to a Wisconsin court decision finding that the parties had reached a valid settlement agreement; and II. Whether the trial court erred in determining that a valid settlement agreement was entered into by the parties and enforcing its term of dismissal.

In Albert J. Hall v. State of Indiana , a 5-page opinion, Judge Kirsch writes:
Albert J. Hall was convicted after a jury trial of operating a motor vehicle as an habitual traffic violator (“HTV”),1 a Class D felony. He appeals, raising the following restated issue: Whether the trial court committed fundamental error in its instruction on the mens rea element of the Habitual Traffic Violator Statute. We reverse and remand. * * *

Here, the other instructions as a whole did not sufficiently inform the jury of the required mens rea. Final Instruction No. 4 provided the charging Information, which states that Hall “knowingly or intentionally” operated a vehicle while being an HTV, and Final Instruction No. 9 defined the terms “knowingly” and “intentionally.” Neither of these instructions informed the jurors that to convict Hall the State had to prove that he operated a vehicle while knowing that his driving privileges were suspended. To the contrary, they were expressly told that in order to convict Hall, the State must prove that Hall “knew or should have known” that his driving privileges were suspended. Appellant’s App. at 125. Moreover, mens rea was the central issue of Hall’s trial. Hall did not dispute that he was an HTV or that he was driving when he was stopped. He only disputed that he knew of his suspension.

We hold that the trial court committed fundamental error in instructing the jury that it could convict on a lesser mens rea than that provided in the statute. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

NFP civil opinions today (7):

Involuntary Commitment of B.K. (NFP)

E.H., Alleged to be C.H.I.N.S.; J.H. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)

In the Matter of the Adoption of E.L.; J.N. v. R.J. (NFP)

L.S. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development (NFP)

Company v. Review Board and B.K. (NFP)

Mary E. McKinney v. Windy Lane Farms, Inc., et al. (NFP)

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of N.S., et al.; D.S. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (10):

Anastacio Carrera v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kevin Ware v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Justin Robinette v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Maria Chavarria v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Brandon Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)

D.S. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kieno Austin v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Vera D. Alsadi v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Anthony B. Rias, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dewayne V. Adamson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 30, 2010 01:03 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions