OCTOBER 2002 SITTING OF THE SUPREME COURT


State of Indiana v. Walter L. Dye
Wednesday, October 9, 2002 at 9:00 a.m.

Walter Dye was convicted by jury of murdering three people and was sentenced to death by the Marion Superior Court. The conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal in Dye v. State, 717 N.E.2d 5 (Ind. 1999). In post-conviction proceedings, the Marion Superior Court vacated the convictions and death sentence. The State appeals the grant of post-conviction relief. Dye cross-appeals from other rulings of the post-conviction court.

                    Attorney for State
                    Steve Carter
                    Timothy W. Beam
                    Indianapolis, IN
                    
                    Attorney for Dye
                    Susan K. Carpenter
                    Laura L. Volk
                    Kathleen Cleary
                    Indianapolis, IN



Indiana State Board of Tax Commissioners v. Ispat Inland, Inc.
Wednesday, October 9, 2002 at 10:00 a.m.

The Lake County Board of Commissioners contracted with a third party to audit the business personal property tax returns of Ispat Inland, Inc. The State Board of Tax Commissioners upheld this procedure, but the Tax Court enjoined it. See Ispat Inland, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 757 N.E.2d 1078 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001). The Supreme Court has granted review of the Tax Court’s decision. Among the issues presented is whether the Tax Court had jurisdiction over this case.

                    Attorney for State
                    Nandita G. Shepherd
                    Indianapolis, IN

                    Attorney for Lake County
                    Brian P. Popp
                    Merrillville, IN

                    Attorney for ISPAT
                    Francina A. Dlouhy
                    James H. Ham
                    Indianapolis, IN




Michael Griffin and Lake County v. Department of Local Government Finance.
Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 9:00 a.m.

The Department denied a Lake County taxpayer’s request for a refund of the Hospital Care for the Indigent (HCI) tax that the taxpayer paid for the years 1996-98. When the taxpayer and county appealed, the Tax Court found the HCI tax to be a state tax whose rate varies from county to county in violation of a state constitutional requirement that property tax rates be uniform and equal. Griffin v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Finance, 765 N.E.2d 716 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2002). Nevertheless, the Tax Court denied the taxpayer’s request for refund and stayed the effect of its constitutional ruling until January 1, 2003. Griffin v. Dep’t of Local Government Finance, 770 N.E.2d 957 (Ind. Tax Court 2002). Both sides sought review by the Indiana Supreme Court, which has agreed to review the case and hear oral argument.

            Attorneys for Griffin and Lake County
                Gerald M. Bishop
                John S. Dull
                Edward R. Hall
                Merrillville, IN

                Attorneys for Department of Local Government Finance
            Steve Carter
                Attorney General of Indiana
                Frances Barrow
                Deputy Attorney General
                Indianapolis, IN

Michael Georgos v. Claude Jackson
Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 10:05 a.m.

The Lake Superior Court ordered the plaintiff, Jackson, to consummate a settlement agreement in a personal injury action. Later, the court granted relief from that order, and after the case was tried, entered judgment on the jury’s verdict awarding Jackson damages. The Court of Appeals reversed in Georgos v. Jackson, 762 N.E.2d 202 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). The Supreme Court has granted Jackson’s petition to transfer, vacating the opinion of the Court of Appeals, and has assumed jurisdiction over the appeal.

                Attorney for Georgos
                Daniel G. Suber
                Valparaiso, IN

                Attorney for Jackson
                Jerry T. Jarrett
                Gary, IN

In the Matter of Michael Kendall
Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 10:50 a.m.

This is an attorney disciplinary proceeding involving Indianapolis attorney Michael Kendall. Evidentiary hearings were conducted before a hearing officer, who then submitted his findings to the Court for final resolution. The case involves questions about the propriety of the respondent attorney’s handling of client retainers and fees.

                    Attorney for Disciplinary Commission
                    Robert Shook
                    Indianapolis, IN

                    Attorney for Kendall
                    Martin Risacher
                    Noblesville, IN


Tankersley v. Parkview Hospital, Inc.
Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 9:00 a.m.

Parkview Hospital sought to enforce a lien for unpaid medical expenses against the patient’s attorney, Kevin Tankersley, under the Hospital Lien Act. The Allen County Superior Court entered summary judgment for Parkview Hospital. The Court of Appeals reversed on grounds Tankersley had no notice of the lien. The Supreme Court has granted transfer, vacating the Court of Appeals opinion reported at Tankersley v. Parkview Hospital, Inc., 761 N.E.2d 886 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), and has assumed jurisdiction over the appeal.

                Attorney for Tankersley
                Daniel S. Tankersley
                Winamac, IN

                Attorney for Parkview Hospital
                Dennis F. Dykhuizen
                Christine M. Stach
                Fort Wayne, IN

Doris Cheatham v. Michael Pohle
Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 9:45 a.m.

The Jennings Superior Court entered a judgment for Doris Cheatham that included an award of $100,000 in punitive damages, consistent with the jury’s verdict. Cheatham appealed, challenging the constitutionality of Indiana Code § 34-51-3-6, which allocates a punitive damages award between the plaintiff and the violent crime victims compensation fund. The Court of Appeals concluded the statute’s allocation of a punitive damages award between the plaintiff and the State is not unconstitutional, but that the statute is unconstitutional to the extent it allows the State to appropriate part of an award without paying a corresponding attorney fee. The Supreme Court granted transfer, thereby vacating the Court of Appeals opinion reported at Cheatham v. Pohle, 764 N.E.2d 272 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), and has assumed jurisdiction over the appeal.

                    Attorney for Cheatham
                    Thomas J. Lantz
                    David W. Paugh
                    Seymour, IN

                    Attorney for Pohle
                    Andrew M. Auersch
                    Timothy J. O’Connor
                    Indianapolis, IN

                    Attorney for State
                    Steve Carter
                    Scott A. Kreider
                    Indianapolis, IN



Mary Neal v. DeKalb County Office of Family and Children
Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 10:50 a.m.

Mother signed a written consent voluntarily terminating her parental rights. At a later hearing, the DeKalb Circuit Court refused to allow her to withdraw consent. The Court of Appeals reversed, deciding that Indiana Code § 31-35-1-6(a) allows a parent who appears at the hearing to revoke consent. The Supreme Court granted transfer, thus vacating the opinion reported at Neal v. In re Termination of Parental Rights, 768 N.E.2d 485 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), and has assumed jurisdiction over the appeal.

                    Attorney for Neal
                    Suzanne Shuman Rister
                    Antwerp, OH                    

                    Attorney for DeKalb County Office of Fam. & Child.
                W. Eric Weber
                Auburn, IN

Richard Kennedy v. Guess, Inc.
Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 9:00 a.m.

Plaintiffs allege injuries caused by an umbrella manufactured by a Hong Kong corporation and bearing the Guess logo. They sued several entities including a distributor of the umbrella and Guess. The Hamilton Circuit Court granted summary judgment to the distributor and to Guess. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that there were issues of material fact as to whether the distributor or Guess could be deemed a manufacturer under the Product Liability Act and whether they could be held liable in negligence. See Kennedy v. Guess, Inc., 765 N.E.2d 213 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). The distributor and Guess have petitioned the Supreme Court to grant transfer and assume jurisdiction over this appeal.
                    Attorney for Kennedy
                    Frederick R. Hovde
                    Indianapolis, IN

                    Attorney for Guess, Inc.        
                    Jeffrey R. Mitchell
                    Indianapolis, IN


Monterey Morgen v. Ford Motor Company
Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 10:05 a.m.

Morgen was injured in an automobile collision while he was seated in the rear seat of a Ford Escort. He filed a product liability lawsuit against Ford, but the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ford in the St. Joseph Superior Court. The Court of Appeals reversed. It held that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury that it could find that Morgen’s failure to wear a seatbelt constituted the defense of product misuse. It also held that the trial court wrongly refused to instruct the jury on Morgen’s theory that Ford failed to provide adequate warnings. Morgen v. Ford Motor Co., 762 N.E.2d 137 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). Ford petitions the Supreme Court to grant transfer and assume jurisdiction over this appeal.
        
                Attorneys for Morgen
                Thomas A. Clements
                Hammond, Indiana

                James L. Gilbert
                Paul J. Komyatte
                Arvada, Colorado

                Attorneys for Ford
                Julia Blackwell Gelinas
                Nelson D. Alexander
                Allison S. Avery
                Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana Insurance Guaranty Fund v. Kenneth D. Davis
Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 10:50 a.m.

A doctor facing a medical malpractice suit is insured by an insurer who is in liquidation. The doctor contends that the $100,000 liability cap of the Indiana Insurance Guaranty Association should not be reduced by payments the patient’s health insurer has made. The Vanderburgh Superior Court found in favor of the doctor, and the Court of Appeals affirmed on this issue. See Indiana Ins. Guar. Ass’n v. Davis, 768 N.E.2d 902 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). The Indiana Insurance Guaranty Association has petitioned the Supreme Court to grant transfer and assume jurisdiction over this appeal.

                Attorney for Indiana Insurance Guaranty
                Andrew W. Hull
                Indianapolis, IN

                Attorney for Davis
                R. Thomas Bodkin
                Catherine L. Michel
                Evansville, IN

                Attorney for Murray
                David B. Allen
                Indianapolis, IN