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Friday, July 22, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 6 opinion(s) today (and 9 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (6):

In Gregg Appliances, Inc., and HHGregg, Inc. v. Dwain Underwood, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, a 9-page opinion, Judge May writes:

Dwain Underwood and other senior managers at HHGregg, Inc. (“Gregg”) brought a class action after Gregg did not pay them bonuses based on Gregg’s 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”). Gregg asserted its EBITDA was below the threshold level for payment of the bonuses, but its calculation of EBITDA excluded nearly forty million dollars in life insurance proceeds it received after its executive chairman died. The trial court granted summary judgment for Underwood after determining a Total Rewards Statement (“TRS”) Gregg provided, indicating what level of EBITDA would result in bonuses, required the EBITDA to include the insurance proceeds. As the life insurance proceeds Gregg received that year were properly excluded from EBITDA, Gregg was not obligated to pay the bonuses.
We therefore reverse and direct entry of summary judgment for Gregg.
In Richard Wilson and Hollie Wilson v. Charles M. Huff and Bonnie M. Huff, an 11-page opinion, Judge Najam concludes:
The trial court did not err in imputing knowledge of the Huffs’ leasehold interest in the Property to the Wilsons and holding that the Wilsons failed to prove their counterclaim alleging fraudulent misrepresentation. Thus, we affirm the trial court’s judgment for the Huffs on their claim and the Wilsons’ counterclaim.
In Santiago Valdez v. State of Indiana , an 18-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:
Santiago Valdez appeals his convictions for Class B Felony Attempted Rape1 and Class C Felony Criminal Confinement.2 He argues that the trial court made evidentiary errors and that the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct. During closing arguments, the prosecutor hinted to the jury that the defense counsel improperly influenced an expert witness outside of the trial. We find that these statements constituted prosecutorial misconduct, but that a prompt admonishment from the trial court prevented Valdez from being placed into grave peril. We also find that the trial court did not make evidentiary errors. Consequently, we affirm. * * *

Our adversarial system of justice can only function when based on a certain level of respect and decorum, and will quickly break down if attorneys hurl wild, baseless accusations of misconduct at each other. To engage in such conduct is to enter a race to the bottom, where the attorneys who are willing to make such accusations against other attorneys will sound authentic and honest (Deputy Prosecutor Hoffman made sure to preface his misconduct with, “I’ll just tell you I’ll call it as I see it,” tr. p. 1423), while more circumspect and honorable attorneys who are not willing to make such accusations will sound like they are hiding something. We cannot countenance a trial environment in which respectful attorneys have an inherent disadvantage. We admonish Mr. Hoffman to refrain from such conduct in the future.

In David Anthony Jordan v. State of Indiana , a 14-page opinion, Judge Pyle writes:

David Anthony Jordan (“Jordan”) appeals the trial court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve part of his previously suspended sentence. Jordan does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his probation violation or the trial court’s ruling that he serve twelve years of his previously suspended sentence. Instead, he challenges the validity of the probation itself. Specifically, he argues that: (1) the special judge did not have authority to enter the revocation order; (2) the original judge, who had previously recused himself from the case, did not have authority to place him on probation; and (3) his probation revocation counsel was ineffective because counsel failed to challenge the validity of Jordan’s probation on the basis that it was imposed by the previously-recused judge. Concluding that Jordan has waived his challenges to the judges’ authority and has failed to meet his burden on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, we affirm the trial court’s order revoking Jordan’s probation.
In Mark A. Conley v. State of Indiana , a 7-page opinion, Judge Najam concludes:
This evidence demonstrates that Officer Sinks did, by visible means, order Conley to stop fleeing. Under these facts and circumstances, we hold that a reasonable person would have interpreted Officer Sinks’ hand gesture as a visual command to stop. And Officer Sinks’ testimony supports a reasonable inference that Conley saw that gesture but proceeded to run from Officer Sinks. The State presented sufficient evidence to support Conley’s resisting law enforcement conviction. Affirmed.
Purvi Patel v. State of Indiana - ILB summary here

NFP civil decisions today (1):

Michael Moore v. Brittney Baker (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (8):

Dereck Worthington v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Troy Stevenson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Denna Kay Kinser v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Brandon Lewis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Calvin Castillo v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Victor Karp v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Michael Heffern v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Morice Ervin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 22, 2016 11:24 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions