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Friday, August 12, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 4 today (and 20 NFP)

For publication opinions today (4):

In LaDon Moore v. Review Board and Whitington Homes and Services, a 10-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

In this case, one of the issues with which we are presented is whether this Court may publish the names of the parties in a case involving the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (the Review Board). Although Indiana Code section 22-4-19-6 imposes certain confidentiality obligations on the Department of Workforce Development (the Department), the statute as incorporated into Administrative Rule 9(G) does not impose the same obligations on this Court, in as much as Rule 9(G) states that although courts on appeal “should endeavor to exclude the names of parties and affected persons, and any other matters excluded from public access,” they may disclose names “as essential to the resolution of litigation or appropriate to further the establishment of precedent or the development of the law.” In light of the high volume of cases in which the Review Board is a party, publishing names is essential to eliminate confusion and to increase efficiency.

LaDon Moore appeals the decision of the Review Board finding Moore was discharged by her employer for just cause. The gravamen of her argument is that there is insufficient evidence to support the Board’s determination. Additionally, the Review Board has filed a Motion to Publish the Names of the Parties. Granting the Review Board’s Motion to Publish and concluding there is sufficient evidence to support the Review Board’s decision, we affirm. * * *

As a preliminary matter we note that the Review Board has filed a “Motion to Publish the Names of the Parties,” which asks this Court to publish the names of the parties, both individuals and employing units, in this, and in all future cases involving the Review Board. Specifically, the Review Board contends that it is difficult to administer the high volume of cases in the appellate process where the names of the individuals and employing units are not disclosed. This is because cases are no longer identifiable by the name of the employing unit, and the issue of initials for individuals has caused confusion. The Review Board further explains that the only sure way to identify a case on the Clerk’s Online Docket is by cause number, an inefficient and time-consuming process. The Review Board contends that although Indiana Code section 22-4-19-6 protects unemployment records from public access and from use while that information resides with the Department, the names of individuals and employing units need not be kept confidential in actions involving the court system in an otherwise public proceeding. We agree. * * *

Pursuant to this statute, unemployment records within the Department have always remained confidential. However, once a case was appealed to this Court, and despite the obligations of section 22-4-19-6, which have existed for over sixty years, the Attorney General (who represents the Review Board), employers, employees, other attorneys before this Court, and both the Indiana Supreme Court and this Court routinely disclosed the full names of the parties in pleadings and in opinions on appeal.

On January 1, 2010, Administrative Rule 9(G), which concerns information in court records that is excluded from public access, was amended to incorporate by reference Indiana Code section 22-4-19-6. This amendment has led some to believe that we are now required to keep the names of the parties confidential on appeal. Others disagree. Since January 1, 2010, there have been sixteen reported cases from this Court in which the Review Board is named a party. Four of those cases have used the full names of the parties. * * *

In sum, Administrative Rule 9(G) merely incorporated Section 22-4-19-6 as it had been interpreted for decades. With that in mind, reading the authority granted by Administrative Rule 9(G)(4)(d) together with section 22-4-19-6(b)’s exception for court orders and considering the Review Board’s interpretation of its own obligations under the statute as well as the interpretation of the statute by the Indiana Supreme Court and this Court in countless cases for over sixty years, we believe it is appropriate for this Court to use the full names of parties in routine appeals from the Review Board.

In Imari C. Butler v. State of Indiana , an 11-page opinion, the issue, as stated by Judge Riley, is:
Whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting portions of Butler’s taped statement. * * *

Based on the precedent in Smith and Wilkes, we agree with Butler that the trial court erred in admitting many of the statements in his taped interview. Detective Smith’s statement “Imari[,] this young lady did not have sex with you consensually. You know it and I know it” is very similar to the detective’s statement in Wilkes that “you were there and we know it, and you know it. . . .” * * * It inappropriately asserts her opinion of his guilt.

However, even though we find that the trial court erred in admitting many of Detective Smith’s statements, we hold that, as in Wilkes, the error was harmless. The improper admission of hearsay evidence does not require reversal where, excluding the erroneously admitted hearsay evidence, there remains ample evidence to sustain the conviction. * * *

In light of these facts, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting portions of Butler’s taped interview, but we will not reverse Butler’s convictions because the error was harmless.

In Farah, LLC, et al. v. Architura Corporation, a 22-page opinion, Judge Barnes concludes:
We reverse the trial court’s award of $26,166 in principal and $15,000 in attorney fees on Architura’s mechanic’s lien claim. The principal mechanic’s lien amount must be reduced to $7500, and we remand for the trial court to recalculate the amount of prejudgment interest to which Architura is entitled. We affirm the trial court’s decision not to award damages on Farah’s claim that Architura failed to adequately inspect the premises and affirm the amount of damages it awarded Farah for Architura’s breaches of contract.
In James C. Purcell v. Old National Bank , a 10-page opinion, Judge May writes:
James Purcell appeals a directed verdict in favor of Old National Bank (ONB). On cross-appeal, ONB appeals the denial of its motion to fees and costs. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand. * * *

The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted judgment on the evidence in favor of ONB regarding Purcell‟s negligence and constructive fraud claims, because ONB did not owe Purcell any duty as a subordinate creditor. However, the trial court abused its discretion when it granted judgment on the evidence on Purcell‟s other claims, because Stein‟s answers to an earlier interrogatory present a genuine issue of material fact regarding those claims. Finally, the trial court properly denied ONB‟s motion for attorney‟s fees and costs because Purcell‟s claims were not groundless. Accordingly, we affirm judgment on the evidence for Purcell‟s negligence claims, affirm the denial of attorney‟s fees, and reverse the judgment on the evidence for Purcell‟s actual fraud, pecuniary damages from deception, and tortious interference with contract claims and remand to the trial court for consideration of those issues before a jury.

NFP civil opinions today (10):

Michael R. Arbuckle v. Ann C. Arbuckle (NFP)

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.C., et al.; A.C. v. IDCS (NFP)

Paternity of S.K., et al.; J.K. v. J.K. (NFP)

Donald H. Westfall v. Wal-Mart Stores East (NFP)

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.B., et al.; W.B. v. IDCS (NFP)

J.M. v. J.W. (NFP)

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of M.R.; M.R. v. IDCS (NFP)

Kevin J. Byers v. Consolidated Union, Inc. (NFP)

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

Paternity of C.P.; B.S. v. J.P. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (10):

Johnny W. Jordan v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Amit Patel v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jerome White v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Christopher Kimbrell v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Carl S. Hall v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kevin J. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dillon L. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Steven Everett v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Robert Thomas v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 12, 2011 01:27 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions