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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one today

In Jason and Justina Kramer v. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., a 15-page, 4-1 opinion, Justice Massa writes:

E. is a baby girl lucky enough to be wanted by two sets of parents: her biological father, R.M., and her prospective adoptive parents, Jason and Justina Kramer. Unfortunately for the Kramers, our legal system gives priority to the rights of biological parents over adoptive parents, and the Kramers were forced to give up E. shortly after Christmas, having had custody for the first eight months of E.’s life. The Kramers then turned their understandable anguish upon Catholic Charities, the agency they had hired to facilitate the adoption, alleging Catholic Charities should have checked the putative father registry prior to placing E. with them, or alternatively, that Catholic Charities had a duty to disclose to the Kramers its failure to conduct a pre-placement check of the registry. Because the applicable Indiana statute does not impose the requirement of a pre-placement registry check, and because the Kramers failed to demonstrate that Catholic Charities had any duties in excess of its statutory obligations, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. * * *

Rush, C.J., and Rucker, David, JJ., concur
Dickson, J., dissents with separate opinion [which is found on p. 15, and concludes] I believe that, as the party moving for summary judgment, Catholic Charities did not affirmatively demonstrate that its exercise of reasonable care for the Kramers under the circumstances is established by undisputed facts. For this reason, the motion for summary judgment filed by Catholic Charities should be denied, and the Kramers’ negligence claim should be permitted to proceed to trial.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 3, 2015 02:08 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions