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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 6 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In Charles Pickering v. Caesars Riverboat Casino, LLC d/b/a Horseshoe Southern Indiana , a 16-page opinion, Judge Brown writes:

Charles Pickering appeals the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Caesars Riverboat Casino, LLC, d/b/a Horseshoe Southern Indiana (“Caesars”). Pickering raises one issue which we revise and restate as whether the court erred in granting Caesars’ motion for summary judgment. We affirm. * * *

Pickering’s negligence claim is based on premises liability. The law is well established that a person entering upon the land of another comes upon the land as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Christmas v. Kindred Nursing Ctrs. Ltd. P’ship, 952 N.E.2d 872, 878 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011). Thus, the first step in resolving a premises liability case is to determine the plaintiff’s status. * * *

When Pickering ducked underneath the caution tape and proceeded up the ramp, he lost his status as an invitee and was a mere licensee. Being a licensee, Caesars owed Pickering a “duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring him or acting in a manner to increase his peril.” Id. at 612. Pickering has not designated any evidence to demonstrate that Caesars either willfully or wantonly injured him, or that it did anything to increase his peril. Indeed, if the peril in this case is the presence of snow and ice on the ramp and rooftop level, then Caesars’ actions decreased Pickering’s level of peril by posting a barricade which should have alerted him to the presence of the snow and ice. Thus, we conclude that the trial court did not err when it granted Caesars’ motion for summary judgment.

In C.B. v. State of Indiana , a 12-page opinion with a separate concurring opinion, Judge Baker writes:
In this case, a juvenile entered into a conditional admission agreement pursuant to which she admitted to committing what would have been class A misdemeanor Battery1 if committed by an adult. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss a separate delinquency petition. Additionally, if the juvenile did not violate the agreement for ninety days, the remaining delinquency petition would also be dismissed. However, if the juvenile violated the agreement, the juvenile court would determine that the agreement had failed, and her case would proceed immediately to disposition.

Before the ninety days had expired, the juvenile was arrested for what would have been class A misdemeanor battery if committed by an adult. The juvenile court noted that probable cause had been found for the new offense and set the matter for a disposition hearing. Immediately before proceeding to disposition, however, the new delinquency petition was dismissed. Nevertheless, the juvenile court determined that the conditional admission agreement had failed and sentenced the juvenile to formal probation.

On appeal, the juvenile argues that she was denied due process when the juvenile court would not permit her to present evidence regarding probable cause after the new delinquency petition was dismissed. We conclude that before a juvenile court can determine that a conditional admission agreement has failed based upon probable cause that a new offense has been committed, the juvenile court must independently find probable cause instead of merely relying on the probable cause finding that authorized the filing of the delinquency petition. Additionally, a juvenile must be given a meaningful opportunity to challenge the existence of probable cause. Here, because the juvenile court relied solely on the finding of the probable cause that supported the filing of the new delinquency petition, and C.B. was not given a meaningful opportunity to challenge probable cause, we reverse. * * *

RILEY, J., concurs.
BARNES, J., concurs with separate opinion. {that concludes] I think the language used by the majority could be construed too broadly. I respectfully believe we must be careful not to overreach and that we should limit our holding to the particular facts of this case.

NFP civil opinions today (3):

Dorita P. Lee and Brealon Miller v. Elizabeth Hamilton (NFP)

Christine and George Evan v. Trustgard Insurance Company, d/b/a Grange Insurance (NFP)

In the Guardianship of D.M.: W.G. v. B.P. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (3):

Francis Napier v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dionne Stewart v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kevin T. Price v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 21, 2013 10:49 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions