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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 5 today (and 21 NFP)

For publication opinions today (5):

In Gilda Orange, et al., Members of the Common Council of the City of East Chicago, Ind. v. Hon. Sonya A. Morris , a 17-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:

In 2012, Appellants/Defendants Gilda Orange, et al., in their capacities as members of the Common Council of the City of East Chicago, Indiana (collectively, “the Council”), reduced by $82,000 the 2013 budget of the City Court of the City of East Chicago, Indiana (“the City Court”), which is presided over by Appellee/Plaintiff the Honorable Sonya A. Morris, Judge. In October of 2012, Judge Morris filed a verified complaint in mandamus in Lake Circuit Court, seeking an order that the Council fully fund the City Court’s requested budget for 2013 and that the Council also pay the City Court’s reasonable expenses in prosecuting the action. The Council moved to dismiss Judge Morris’s complaint on the ground that it did not use the Indiana Supreme Court’s judicial assignment process as outlined in Indiana Trial Rule 60.5.

Special Judge George C. Paras was appointed to hear the complaint, denied the Council’s motion to dismiss, and held trial. Following trial, Judge Paras ordered the Council to appropriate an additional $65,000 to fund the City Court (“the Mandate”) and for each party to pay its own expenses and attorney’s fees. The Council contends that (1) Judge Morris failed to meet her burden to establish that the mandated funds were reasonably necessary to operate the City Court, (2) Judge Morris should have been required to use the judicial appointment process of Trial Rule 60.5, (3) existing probation funds could have cushioned the effect of budgetary cuts, and (4) the Council’s appeal is not moot. The City Court counters that (1) the Mandate was necessary to preserve the judicial independence of the City Court, (2) the mandated funds are reasonably necessary to fund court operations, (3) the Council failed to establish that the City Court’s budget is excessive or that East Chicago could not fund the budget, and (4) the City Court is entitled to appellate attorney’s fees and expenses. We consolidate and restate the issues as (1) whether Judge Morris produced sufficient evidence to support the mandate of funds, (2) whether Judge Morris should have been required to use the procedure outlined in Trial Rule 60.5, and (3) whether the City Court is entitled to appellate attorney’s fees and expenses. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and remand for calculation of the City Court’s appellate attorney’s fees and expenses. * * *

We conclude that because Judge Morris carried her burden to establish that the requested funds were reasonably necessary, the trial court did not err in granting her mandate request. We further conclude that Judge Morris used the proper procedure to prosecute her mandate action and so will not reverse the judgment of the trial court on that basis. Finally, we conclude the City Court is entitled to an award of its appellate attorney’s fees and expenses and so remand for calculation of those fees and expenses.

In Dawn Duty v. Boys and Girls Club of Porter County and Chuck Leer, an 11-page opinion, Judge Najam concludes:
The trial court did not err when it dismissed Duty’s claim against BGC alleging wrongful discharge. But the trial court erred when it dismissed Duty’s claim against Leer alleging tortious interference with a contractual relationship. Duty may proceed with that claim on remand.
In In Re: the Guardianship of M.N.S.; J.L.M. v. M.S.S, a 9-page opinion, Judge Najam concludes:
The evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that Mother is an unfit parent. Mother’s contentions on appeal amount to a request that we reweigh the evidence, which we will not do. Mother makes no contention that the adoption is not in Child’s best interests. Notwithstanding Mother’s waiver of that issue, we hold that the evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that the adoption is in Child’s best interests. I.C. § 31-19-9-8(a)(11)(B). The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted Stepmother’s adoption petition without Mother’s consent.
In T.H. and C.H. v. R.J. and K.J., a 19-page opinion, Judge Pyle writes:
Grandparents appeal the juvenile court’s order granting sole physical and legal custody of B.J. to R.J. (“Mother”) and Stepfather (collectively, the “Parents”). The juvenile court had previously adjudicated Grandparents as de facto custodians of B.J., thereby giving them the ability to seek custody. On appeal, Grandparents argue that the evidence did not support the juvenile court’s findings of fact and its ultimate conclusions. The Grandparents also claim they were entitled to continued court-ordered visitation with B.J.

Concluding that the evidence supported the juvenile court’s factual findings, that the Grandparents failed to rebut the presumption of awarding custody of B.J. to the Parents, and that there was no error in discontinuing court-ordered visitation with Grandparents, we affirm the juvenile court’s order.
We affirm.

In Thomas Mack v. State of Indiana , a 24-page opinion, Judge Najam writes:
Among other things, we hold that, in light of the facts and circumstances of this case, a lapse of at least “a few minutes” between a declarant’s perception of an event and his statement describing that event was too long to qualify the statement as a present sense impression under Indiana Evidence Rule 803(1). We also hold that the admission of this hearsay violated Mack’s right to confront the declarant. Nonetheless, these errors were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, on these and all other issues, we affirm Mack’s convictions.
NFP civil opinions today (6):

Ind. Automobile Wholesalers Assoc., Inc., National Dealer Licence, Llc., et. al. v. Carol Mihalik, Comm. of the Ind. Securities Div. of the Ind. Sec. of State, et. al. (NFP)

In Re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of V.A. and A.A. v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services (NFP)

In Re the Adoption of K.M., Y.P. v. H.M. (NFP)

Roger Berghs, Karen Berghs, and Rex Harris v. Panet Antares, Inc., Purco Corp., and Dana M. Bashor (NFP)

Charles S. Komyanek v. Sodexho Services of Indiana (NFP)

Phillip Gray v. The Palace et. al. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (15):

James D. Harral, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Landon Harbert v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Bennie Truth v. State of Indiana (NFP)

William Temple, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Glenn A. Eads, Jr. State of Indiana (NFP)

Timothy L. Hall v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Coleman v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Brian Pierce v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Daniel Camacho v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Oluwaseyi Ojo v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Terrance Greenwood, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Brook McKee v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Vicars-Goings v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Larry White v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Ron Petty v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 18, 2014 02:10 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions