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Friday, February 15, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 13 NFP)

For publication opinions today (3):

In Amy Jean Kristoff v. Centier Bank , a 9-page opinion, Judge Mathias writes:

Amy Jean Kristoff (“Amy”) appeals the Lake Circuit Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Centier Bank (“the Bank”), the trustee of the Amy Jean Kristoff Exempt Trust, in Amy’s action to modify the terms of a trust established by her late mother. We affirm. * * *

The terms of the trust document are clear and unambiguous, and the primary purpose of the trust was not for the benefit of the beneficiaries’ children. Nor was the beneficiaries’ failure to have children an unforeseen circumstance. Amy has identified no genuine issue of material fact, and the Bank has demonstrated that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

In South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore Railcats, and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC v. Juanita DeJesus , a 14-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:
On May 23, 2009, Juanita DeJesus was injured when she was hit on the head by a foul ball at a Gary South Shore Railcats minor league professional baseball game. DeJesus subsequently filed suit against South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore Railcats and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC (collectively, “Appellants”), alleging that the Appellants were liable for her injuries under a theory of premises liability and for negligently failing to place protective screening continuously from first to third base. Appellants filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that, under both Indiana law and the nationwide majority rule, they could not be held liable for DeJesus’s injuries. The trial court denied the Appellants’ motion for summary judgment. Soon thereafter, Appellants sought and were granted permission to bring this interlocutory appeal. Concluding that, as a matter of law, Appellants cannot be held liable for DeJesus’s injuries, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand with instructions for the trial court to issue an order granting summary judgment in favor of the Appellants. * * *

With respect to DeJesus’s claim that Appellants were liable for her injuries under the theory of premises liability, we apply the Indiana Supreme Court’s holding in Pfenning to the instant matter and conclude that the undisputed designated evidence conclusively establishes that crucial aspects of two of the elements of premises liability are not satisfied. Pfenning, 947 N.E.2d at 407. There is no showing that (a) the Appellants should have reasonably expected that their invitees would fail to discover or realize the danger of foul balls entering the stands, and (b) the risk of being struck by a foul ball involved an unreasonable risk of harm. With respect to DeJesus’s negligence claim, we adopt the majority rule that the operator of a baseball stadium does not have a duty to place protective screening continuously from first to third base, but rather only in the most dangerous area, i.e., the area directly behind home plate. For these reasons, we conclude that DeJesus cannot prevail on her claims against the Appellants. As such, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand with instructions for the trial court to grant the Appellants’ motion for summary judgment.

The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the matter remanded with instructions.

In Amanda Vaughn v. State of Indiana , a 10-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Barnes writes:
Amanda Vaughn appeals the trial court’s sentence for her conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass. We reverse and remand.

Vaughn raises one issue, which we restate as whether the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered her to serve forty hours of community service in lieu of fines and costs. * * *

Given the lack of statutory authority for the trial court to impose a community service requirement in lieu of costs and fees, we must reverse the trial court’s order. We remand for the trial court to address the imposition of costs and fees in this case. In doing so, we note that, our supreme court has held, “when fines or costs are imposed upon an indigent defendant, such a person may not be imprisoned for failure to pay the fines or costs.” Whedon, 765 N.E.2d at 1279. * * *

RILEY, J., concurs.
BAKER, J., dissents with opinion. [that begins] I respectfully dissent and part ways with the majority’s determination that the trial court erred in ordering Vaughn to serve forty hours of community service in lieu of paying fines and costs.

First, I would note that a trial court may exercise its discretion by suspending fines and costs, and “may impose any reasonable condition it deems appropriate when it does so.” Campbell v. State, 551 N.E.2d 1164, 1169 (Ind. Ct. App. 1990). In my view, ordering Vaughn to perform community service in lieu of fines and costs was reasonable.

NFP civil opinions today (5):

VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council (NFP)

Larry J. Briski v. Peoples Bank (NFP)

In Re: The Paternity of K.D.; M.G. v. S.D. (NFP)

Pie Kitchen, LLC d/b/a Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen v. Merchant, LLC (NFP)

Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (8):

Shawn J. Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Misty DeMoss v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Tasha Parsons v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Courtney A. Wuethrich v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dennis White v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Clarence E. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Brian Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jesse L. Rose v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 15, 2013 11:17 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions