Monday, November 21, 2016
Ind. Decisions - Upcoming oral arguments this week and next
This week's oral arguments before the Supreme Court (week of 11/21/16):
Tuesday, November 22
- 9:00 AM - Noe Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton Company, Inc. (54S01-1610-CT-546) A subcontractor’s employee, a citizen of Mexico, was injured on a jobsite and sued the general contractor for negligence, seeking, among other things, damages for lost future wages. The Montgomery Superior Court struck the opinions of the employee’s damages experts after finding they were irrelevant and did not account for the employee’s immigration status; the court also ruled the general contractor may refer at trial to the employee’s immigration status because it is relevant to where he would work and, thus, future wages. In this interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton Co., 54 N.E.3d 1013 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016), vacated. The Supreme Court has granted a petition to transfer the case and has assumed jurisdiction over the appeal.
ILB: This was this was a March 21, 2016, 2-1 COA opinion where the dissent begins:
When the plaintiff in a civil action is also an undocumented immigrant, the majority concludes that juries and experts cannot determine an appropriate award of damages for loss of future income without first considering the plaintiff’s immigration status.
- 9:45 AM - Lisa Harris v. State of Indiana (83A01-1509-CR-01311) A state trooper stopped Lisa Harris’s vehicle after he observed her driving without wearing a seat belt. At the trooper’s request, Harris produced her driver’s license, and the trooper recognized Harris’s name as appearing on the NPLEx system used by law enforcement and pharmacies to track the sale of over-the-counter medications used to manufacture methamphetamine. After questioning Harris and obtaining her consent to a search, the trooper found methamphetamine in her purse. The Vermillion Circuit Court denied Harris’s motion to suppress the evidence. On interlocutory appeal, a majority of the Court of Appeals reversed, finding the trooper lacked the necessary independent basis of reasonable suspicion to justify further inquiry during a seat belt enforcement stop. Harris v. State, ___ N.E.3d ___, No. 83A01-1509-CR-1311 (Ind. Ct. App. July 26, 2016), trans. pending. The State has petitioned the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction over the appeal.
ILB: This was a 2-1 July 27, 2016 COA opinion (2nd case)
- 10:30 AM - State of Indiana v. Dejon Pitchford (49A04-1512-CR-02173) Pitchford was arrested on a preliminary charge of misdemeanor battery. While processing Pitchford after arrest, a sheriff’s deputy conducted a strip search of Pitchford and found narcotics. The State charged Pitchford with two counts of felony drug possession and one count of misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Arguing the search was unconstitutional, Pitchford moved to suppress the evidence. The Marion Superior Court granted Pitchford’s motion, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. State v. Pitchford, 60 N.E.3d 1100 (Ind. Ct. App. July 29, 2016), trans. pending. The State has petitioned the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction over the appeal.
ILB: This was a July 29, 2016 COA opinion (3rd case)
Next week's oral arguments before the Supreme Court (week of 12/1/16):
- 9:00 AM - Keyaunna Hurley v. State of Indiana (49A05-1601-CR-108) After being stopped for a traffic violation, Keyaunna Hurley submitted to a chemical breath test. Hurley’s attempted blows into the test machine produced the result “insufficient sample,” and the officer administering the test determined Hurley was not cooperating and had refused to complete the test. After a hearing, the Marion Superior Court agreed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting Hurley’s argument that the Indiana Administrative Code required the officer to administer a second breath test before a refusal could be found. Hurley v. State, 56 N.E.3d 127 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016). Hurley has petitioned the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction over the appeal.
- 9:45 AM - State of Indiana v. Wallace Irvin Smith, III (45S05-1611-CR-00572) In 2000, Wallace Smith pleaded guilty in Lake Superior Court to Class D felony theft and agreed not to ask that his felony be reduced to a misdemeanor. In 2015, after serving his sentence and completing probation, Wallace filed a motion in the trial court seeking misdemeanor treatment. The court granted Wallace’s petition, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. State v. Smith, 58 N.E.3d 224 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016), vacated. The Supreme Court has granted a petition to transfer the case and has assumed jurisdiction over the appeal.
- 10:30 AM - Michael Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractos, Inc., et al. (49A02-1508-CT-01198) Michael Ryan, an employee of a subcontractor, was injured on the job and sued TCI, the general contractor on the construction project. The Marion Superior Court entered summary judgment for TCI. A majority of the Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding the contract between TCI and the owner, which was comprised of standard forms of the Design Build Institute of America, did not impose a duty of care on TCI for the safety of Ryan. Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractors, Inc., et al., 55 N.E.3d 340 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016). Ryan has petitioned the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction over the appeal.
This week's oral arguments before the Court of Appeals (week of 11/21/16):Monday, November 21
- 10:30 AM - Rodney Tyms-Bey v. State of Indiana (49A05-1603-CR-00439) Rodney Tyms-Bey was charged with three counts of class D felony tax evasion. He filed a notice that he intended to raise a defense of religious freedom under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The State filed a motion to strike the RFRA defense, and the trial court granted the motion. Tyms-Bey now brings this interlocutory appeal of the order striking the RFRA defense.
The Scheduled Panel Members are: Chief Judge Vaidik, Judges Baker and Najam. [Where: Court of Appeals Courtroom (WEBCAST)]
- 1:00 PM - William Groth v. Mike Pence (49A04-1605-PL-01116) After Governor Mike Pence made the executive decision to have Indiana join a Texas lawsuit against the President of the United States with respect to certain federal immigration policies, William Groth, a private citizen, filed a public records request with the Governor pursuant to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act (“APRA”), Ind. Code §§ 5-14-3-1 to -10 (2016). The Governor responded to Groth’s request, but in doing so he redacted some of the documents and withheld another. The Indiana Public Access Counselor concluded that the Governor’s response was not contrary to APRA, and, acting on Groth’s ensuing complaint, the trial court also concluded that the Governor’s response was not contrary to APRA. On appeal, Groth asserts that the Governor abused his discretion under APRA when he redacted invoices from a private law firm he had hired to represent Indiana in the Texas lawsuit. Groth also asserts that the Governor abused his discretion when he withheld from disclosure a document relevant to the Texas litigation that had been created by a Texas deputy solicitor general and disseminated by that official to executive offices in Indiana and several other states. Governor Pence argues on appeal that these issues are not justiciable under our supreme court’s recent opinion in Citizens Action Coalition v. Koch, 51 N.E.3d 236 (Ind. 2016).
The Scheduled Panel Members are: Chief Judge Vaidik, Judges Baker and Najam. [Where:
Court of AppealsSupreme Court Courtroom (WEBCAST)]
ILB: For background on this case, begin with this ILB post from May 20, 2016, quoting a story from the FWJG. The filings in this case are available using the docket #, linked above.
- 3:00 PM - Estate of Gary Pfafman v. Lori Lancaster, Individually, and as Guardian of the Estate of Cole Craig (57A05-1311-CC-00593) Lori Lancaster, Individually, and as Guardian of the Estate of Kole Craig, filed a complaint against Gary Pfafman alleging that Pfafman’s negligence in performing electrical work in a barn owned by Roger Diehm proximately caused Craig’s injuries from an electric shock during a visit to Diehm’s barn. Following a five-day trial, a jury entered a general verdict in favor of the Estate of Pfafman. Lancaster moved for a new trial under Indiana Trial Rule 59(J) alleging that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The trial court granted that motion, setting aside the jury’s verdict and ordering a new trial. The Estate of Pfafman appeals and presents the following issues for our review: whether the trial court complied with the requirements of Trial Rule 59(J) when it entered its findings and conclusions; and whether the trial court abused its discretion when it set aside the jury verdict. The Scheduled Panel Members are: Chief Judge Vaidik, Judges Baker and Najam. [Where: Court of Appeals Courtroom (WEBCAST)]
Next week's oral arguments before the Court of Appeals (week of 11/28/16):Wednesday, November 30
- 1:30 PM - Celadon Trucking v. Wilmoth et al. (49A04-1512-PL-02104) In this class action lawsuit, Celadon Trucking Services is appealing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a class consisting of independent contractor truck drivers. The drivers alleged that Celadon breached standardized contracts with them related to deductions Celadon made from the drivers’ compensation for fuel purchases the drivers made using a Celadon-issued Comdata card at Pilot Flying J truck stops. When making the fuel purchases, the drivers were required to pay the price displayed on the pump, and Celadon used the pump price when calculating the amount to be deducted from the drivers’ compensation for fuel purchases. However, when reimbursing Pilot Flying J for the Comdata card purchases, Celadon paid it less than the pump price. The drivers’ lawsuit sought to recover the difference between the pump price amount for fuel that was deducted from their compensation and the price that Celadon actually paid to Pilot Flying J for those purchases. The trial court agreed with the drivers’ interpretation of their contracts with Celadon and awarded judgment of over $3.3 million in damages to the drivers, plus interest. On appeal, Celadon contends that the trial court’s interpretation of the contract was erroneous. Alternatively, it contends that the contract is ambiguous and the ambiguity must be resolved at trial by a fact finder. The Scheduled Panel Members are: Judges Riley, Bailey and Barnes. [Where: Court of Appeals Courtroom (WEBCAST)]
NOTE: For a printable version of this list of upcoming oral arguments, click on the date in the next line. Then select "Print" from your browser.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 21, 2016 08:40 AM
Posted to Upcoming Oral Arguments