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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 4 today (and 11 NFP)

For publication opinions today (4):

In Teresa A. Fritz-Lint v. Review Board of the Ind. Dept. of Workforce Development and Truth Publishing Co., Inc. , a 6-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:

Appellant Teresa Fritz-Lint was employed by Appellee Truth Publishing Co., Inc., (“Truth”) and received training, which included review of Truth’s anti-harassment policy (“the Policy”). The Policy defined harassment as including such things as jokes about another person’s protected status and related that violation of the Policy could result in termination. Fritz-Lint’s husband sent her an email containing a picture with the following caption: “Black people started wearing their pants low, white people called it ‘saggin.’ Spell saggin backwards … those sneaky white people.” Fritz-Lint forwarded the email to two coworkers.

A few days later, somebody printed a copy of the picture and placed in on an African-American coworker’s chair, who was offended and filed a complaint with Truth. Truth investigated, and while Fritz-Lint admitted that she had forwarded the email to two coworkers, she denied placing it on the African-American coworker’s chair. Truth dismissed Fritz-Lint for violating its anti-harassment policy by distributing the email to other employees. * * *

We agree with the Board and Truth. Fritz-Lint admits to forwarding the email to coworkers, and, although she denied personally delivering it to her African-American coworker, her dissemination of the offensive material allowed that delivery to occur. Moreover, even if the offensive email had never found its way to the African-American coworker, the mere dissemination of such material, if left unchecked, could encourage the growth, spread, and acceptance of such attitudes in the workplace. In other words, such actions could contribute to the creation of a hostile work environment. We have little trouble concluding that the Board’s decision that Fritz-Lint was dismissed for just cause, i.e., for violating the Policy, is not contrary to law.

In Dollie Smith, Henry Harris, Jr., and Clarence Carter v. Wayne Haggard, a 6-page opinion, Judge Mathias writes:
Clarence Carter, Dollie Smith, and Henry Harris (collectively “the Appellants”) appeal the Madison Circuit Court’s dismissal of their complaints against Wayne Haggard (“Haggard”). The Appellants claim that the trial court erred when it concluded that their complaints should be dismissed because they failed to file their summonses as required by Trial Rule 3 within the two-year statute of limitations. We affirm. * * *

Because the Appellants filed their summonses two days after the statute of limitations expired, they failed to meet the requirements under Trial Rule 3 for timely commencement of their causes of action. Under the brightline rule our supreme court established in Boostrom, and applied in Ray-Hayes, the trial court properly dismissed the Appellants’ complaints against Haggard

In Robin Eugene Montgomery v. State of Indiana, a 24-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:
Between June 25, 2013 and August 24, 2013, Appellant-Defendant Robin Eugene Montgomery purchased a ten-count box of pseudoephedrine every ten days. At some point, officers from the Warrick County Sherriff’s Office initiated an investigation into Montgomery’s actions, during which the officers came to believe that Montgomery was operating a mobile methamphetamine laboratory. As part of their investigation, officers approached Montgomery at a storage unit located in Vanderburgh County on August 25, 2013. Montgomery attempted to flee from the officers in his vehicle, striking one officer and forcing another to have to dive out of the path of the vehicle. A chasing officer observed Montgomery throw a smoking yellow bag out of the window of his vehicle before Montgomery stopped the vehicle and was apprehended. Officers also discovered numerous items used during the course of the manufacture of methamphetamine in the storage unit, which was rented by Montgomery.

On August 27, 2013, Appellee-Plaintiff the State of Indiana (the “State”) charged Montgomery with numerous crimes, including Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felony resisting law enforcement. Following a jury trial, Montgomery was found guilty of these charges. The trial court subsequently sentenced Montgomery to an aggregate twelve-year sentence. On appeal, Montgomery contends that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain evidence at trial. Montgomery also contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine. Concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the challenged evidence and that the evidence is sufficient to sustain Montgomery’s conviction, we affirm.

In Steven M. Sandleben v. State of Indiana, a 20-page opinion, Judge Najam writes:
Steven Sandleben appeals his convictions for three counts of public voyeurism,1 two as Class D felonies and one as a Class A misdemeanor, following a bench trial. He presents five issues for our review, which we revise and restate as follows: 1. Whether the evidence is sufficient to support his convictions. 2. Whether the voyeurism statute, as applied, is unconstitutionally vague. 3. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain business records. 4. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced him. 5. Whether his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character. * * *

In sum, we hold that sufficient evidence supported Sandleben’s convictions for public voyeurism and that the public voyeurism statute, as applied, is not unconstitutionally vague. Moreover, while we hold that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted certain business records over objection, those records were cumulative, which made the error harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally, we hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Sandleben and that the sentence it imposed is not inappropriate. Affirmed.

NFP civil opinions today (2):

Keaton J. Miller v. Ryan Blackburn (NFP)

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: B.B. and M.B. v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (9):

Larry Woods v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Timothy Wellbaugh v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Antwoine Young v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Anthony Walls v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jeffrey S. Taylor v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Angela L. Blair v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Benjamin T. Haines v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Maron Jackson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

D.B. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jason D. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 11, 2014 09:46 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions