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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 4 today (and 14 NFP)

For publication opinions today (4):

In L.C. Neely Drilling, Inc. and Maverick Energy, Inc. v. Hoosier Energy Rural Electrical Cooperative, Inc., a 12-page opinion, Judge Friedlander writes:

L.C. Neely Drilling, Inc. and Maverick Energy, Inc. (collectively, Maverick) appeal from the trial court’s ruling in favor of Hoosier Energy Rural Electrical Cooperative, Inc. (Hoosier Energy) upon the parties’ cross-motions for partial summary judgment. On appeal, Maverick argues that it was entitled to summary judgment or, alternatively, that a genuine issue of material fact precluded summary judgment in Hoosier Energy’s favor. We affirm. * * *

For all of these reasons, we conclude that the lease clearly and unambiguously provided that if Maverick had not begun paying production or shut-in gas royalties by the end of the initial term, the lease would continue year-to-year upon the timely payment of advance royalties. Because Maverick failed to timely pay advance royalties, the lease expired by its own terms and without the need for Hoosier Energy to issue a demand. Because the language of the lease is clear and unambiguous, we will not consider Maverick’s extrinsic evidence concerning the history of advance royalty payments. See Bd. of Com’rs of Delaware Cnty. v. Evans, 979 N.E.2d 1042. Accordingly, there are no genuine issues of material fact and Hoosier Energy is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The trial court therefore properly granted Hoosier Energy’s motion for partial summary judgment and denied Maverick’s motion for partial summary judgment.

In Gary Community School Corporation v. Prince Lardydell b/n/f Erma Lardydell , an 18-page opinion, Sr. Judge Darden writes:
Gary Community Schools Corporation (“GCS”) appeals the trial court’s entry of judgment in favor of Prince Lardydell by his mother and next friend, Erma Lardydell. We affirm.

GCS raises three issues, which we restate as:
I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence.
II. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in instructing the jury.
III. Whether the jury’s damage award of $120,000 is supported by the evidence.

In In Re the Adoption of L.T.: J.M. and S.M. v. C.T. , a 13-page opinion, Judge Bailey writes:
C.T. (“Father”) established his paternity of L.T. (“Child”) in the Marion County Circuit Court. The custodial parent (“Mother”) died, and Father allowed maternal grandparents J.M. and S.M. (“Grandparents”) to assume guardianship. A guardianship order was entered by the Hamilton County Superior Court, although Child did not reside there. Paternal grandparents (“Interveners”) intervened and secured transfer of the matter to the Marion County Superior Court, Probate Division, where it was consolidated with Grandparents’ adoption petition. In a non-evidentiary hearing, Father contended that the Hamilton County Superior Court order was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The probate court granted relief from the order and summarily awarded Father physical custody of Child. We reverse and remand for a hearing on the best interests of the child. * * *

Ultimately, however, we need not decide whether, upon death of one parent, the surviving parent is entitled to automatic extinguishment of an existing guardianship. Those are not the circumstances of this case. Here, Father relinquished a right to custody of Child immediately upon Mother’s death. For reasons not yet developed in a best interests hearing, Father signed – subsequent to Mother’s death – a consent to guardianship of Child. As no hearing has been conducted, the record on appeal is devoid of any evidence of changed circumstances. We are not in a position to speculate on potential evidence. As to the law, we are not persuaded that either statutory or common law provides Father, who previously acknowledged that Child needed guardians, an absolute and summary right to custody without a hearing on changed circumstances and best interests.

In Austin G. Pittman v. State of Indiana, an 11-page opinion dealing with expungement, Judge Mathias writes:
Austin G. Pittman (“Pittman”) filed a petition in Boone Superior Court to restrict access to the record of his criminal conviction, which the trial court denied. Pittman appeals and presents one issue, which we restate as: whether the statute regarding the restriction of access to criminal records prohibited the trial court from restricting access to Pittman’s record because Pittman had violated the terms of his probation in the conviction at issue. The State cross-appeals and claims that this court is without jurisdiction to consider Pittman’s appeal. Concluding that we have jurisdiction and that the trial court did not err in denying Pittman’s petition, we affirm. * * *

[B]ecause Pittman committed another crime while on probation, he failed to satisfy the obligations imposed as a part of his sentence, and he did not qualify to have access to his conviction records restricted under Indiana Code Chapter 35-38-8. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in denying Pittman’s petition to restrict access to the records of his prior OWI conviction.

NFP civil opinions today (4):

Clarenda Love v. Bruce Love (NFP)

Timothy E. Strowmatt v. Jennifer Smith, Matt Penticuff, Misty Cecil (NFP)

T.W. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (NFP)

Robin (Bankert) Hall v. Robert H. Bankert (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (10):

Claricea D. Muse v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kristin A. Houssain v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Yosef M. Hajaji v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Eric Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dillon W. Grissell v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Neil Short v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Shannon L. Simons v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Alan Ramsey v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Heath Burgess v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Howard Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 30, 2014 11:17 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions