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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 5 NFP)

For publication opinions today (3):

In George Clements v. Kimberly Hall and Stanley Harmon, a 7-page opinion, Chief Judge Robb writes:

George Clements (“Clements”) filed a motion for relief from judgment requesting the trial court set aside summary judgment granted in favor of Kimberly Hall and Stanley Harmon in a dispute over real property. The trial court denied Clements’s motion. Clements raises two issues for our review, one of which we find dispositive: whether the trial court erred in denying Clements’s motion for relief from judgment. Concluding the trial court’s denial of Clements’s motion for relief from judgment was in error because Hall and Harmon’s attorney knew Clements was represented by counsel and failed to serve notice of the motion for summary judgment, we reverse and remand for further proceedings. * * *

Pursuant to Johnston, we conclude Foland’s knowledge that Clements was represented by Voils gave rise to an obligation to notify Voils when Hall and Harmon moved for summary judgment even though Voils had not yet filed an appearance. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

In Shawn A. Keckler, Kari Felda, Special Admin. to the Estate of Ryan S. Holloway, Janice Norman, Dewayne Scott, Timothy J. Boganwright, et al. v. Meridian Security Insurance Company, a 21-page opinion, Judge Barnes writes:
Shawn Keckler, Kari Felda (as Special Administrator to the Estate of Ryan Holloway), Janice Norman and DeWayne Scott (as the mother and father of Bryant Scott), Timothy and Sara Boganwright, and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Company (“Farm Bureau”) (collectively, “the Appellants”) appeal the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of Meridian Security Insurance Company (“Meridian”) in Meridian’s declaratory judgment action. We reverse and remand.

The Appellants raise five issues, which we combine and restate as the following two issues:
I. whether the trial court properly concluded as a matter of law that an exclusionary clause in Meridian’s umbrella insurance policy that insured Nathan Creighton at the time of a severe automobile accident caused by him precludes any and all claims by the Appellants against Meridian’s policy; and
II. whether public policy requires exclusion of coverage for the Appellants’ claims. * * *

In sum, we conclude that Meridian has not met its burden on summary judgment of establishing that the exclusionary clause for injuries arising out of the use of marijuana applied in this case. Our holding today has no effect on the validity of cases such as Bennett and Shepler that decided much different questions in the context of the criminal law. As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted in Eisenman, “the insurance policy in no way saves the insured from the consequences of his criminal act.” Eisenman, 264 A.2d at 675. Creighton has been penalized for that act. Denying insurance coverage here, on the other hand, would have drastic consequences not only for Creighton, but also for “innocent” injured parties seeking recompense for the injuries he caused.

We reverse the entry of summary judgment in favor of Meridian and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

In Delbert Conklin v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Carter Express, Inc. , a 9-page opinion, Judge Barnes writes:
Delbert Conklin appeals the denial of his application for unemployment benefits by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (“the Board”). We reverse.

The sole restated issue we need address is whether there is sufficient evidence to support the Board’s decision that Conklin was terminated from his employment for just cause. * * *

The Board’s determination that Conklin was discharged for “just cause” was unreasonable because of the lack of evidence that the accident was his fault. We reverse the denial of unemployment benefits to Conklin.

NFP civil opinions today (2):

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of M.B., D.B., and D.S.; M.B. (Mother) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)

In Re The Marriage of: Leanne Kathleen Johnson v. Florenzo Johnson (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (3):

Michael L. Crowe v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Harold W. Reynolds v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Releford Green, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 24, 2012 01:26 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions