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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 8 NFP) [Corrected 7/2/13] [Updated 7/3/13]

For publication opinions today (2):

In Tequita Ramsey v. Lightning Corporation , an 11-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

In this case of first impression, we are confronted with the issue on interlocutory appeal as to whether the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the temporary decertification of a class, in an action brought by appellant-plaintiff Tequita Ramsey against the appellee-defendant Lightning Corporation, d/b/a First Class Car Company (Lightning). Ramsey claimed that she had the right to maintain a class action suit to recover vehicle document preparation fees that Lightning charged. Ramsey asserts that the trial court erred in determining that she lacked standing to bring her lawsuit as a class action, that the class was improperly decertified, and that she could not be a representative of the class.

Notwithstanding these contentions, Indiana Trial Rule 23 contemplates that a class action certification is subject to change before a decision is made on the merits. And there is nothing in the rule altering this standard when the trial court conditionally certifies a class action. Here, the evidence established, among other things, that Ramsey is not a member of the defined class, and therefore may not serve as a class representative. Thus, we cannot say that the trial court erred in decertifying the class. As a result, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Frederick L. King v. State of Indiana is odd. The ILB has already received several emails about it. It is labeled as "Panel Per Curiam", which the ILB has never seen before. The panel is not identified, either in the opinion or in the docket. But the initials , "jsk", are those of Judge Kirsch*. One reader asks: "A FP per curiam opinion that is one page and one paragraph long with absolutely no analysis?" Another reader asks if "they" are going to do all sentencing opinions like this in the future? Is this is going to be a "template" of sorts that they will use over and over again for these types of cases? In that case, maybe the "template" is FP and those that follow will be NFP? Whatever, the brief opinion concludes:
Having reviewed the matter, we conclude that the trial court did not impose an inappropriate sentence under Appellate Rule 7(B), and the sentence does not warrant appellate revision. Accordingly, we decline to disturb the sentence imposed by the trial court.
[*Correction at 3:55] The ILB has made a bad error, the initials on the opinion are not "jsk", they are "per". Judge Kirsch was kind enough to send a note, reading:
Dear Marcia,
Today’s Indiana Law Blog has a reference to Frederick L. King v. State of Indiana case and suggests that I may have participated in the decision because “the initials, ‘jsk’, are those of Judge Kirsch.” Those are, indeed, my initials, but I did not participate in the case in any way.
Sincerely,
Jim Kirsch
ILB: Many thanks to Judge Kirsch for sending the quick note clearing this up, and my sincere apologies!

So who is "per"? There is no COA judge with those initials. (Every opinion is assigned a distinctive identifying code, including the initials of the writing judge; here it is "07021301per.pdf"). My guess is the initials here stand for the "per" in "per curiam." From a reader earlier today: "I think every litigant is entitled to a real opinion with three named judges. Two classes of opinions, even for cases that appear to lack merit, is a bad precedent."

[Updated on 7/3/13: The names of the panel members have now been added to King ("NAJAM, J., BAILEY, J., and BARNES, J."), along with a footnote that begins: "In per curiam opinions, judges serving on the panel are listed in order of seniority."

NFP civil opinions today (4):

Darryl Crenshaw and Krisean Porter v. State of Indiana (NFP) is a 3-page opinion designated as NFP, although it is concerning the trial court's denial of petitions for restricted disclosure of arrest records, a topic much in the news currently.

Fireworks West International, et al. v. David Prim, et al. (NFP)

Maria Torres v. Lovisa Enders (NFP)

Fred L. Froeschke and Judith A. Froeschke v. City of Vincennes (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

Iris Newt v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Charles Hall v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Steven C. Cupery v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dwight A. Washington v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 2, 2013 11:09 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions