Seventh Circuit Provides Guidance on Certifying Class Definition and Claims Differing from Those Proposed in Complaint

Seventh Circuit Provides Guidance on Certifying Class Definition and Claims Differing from Those Proposed in Complaint

This week we discuss the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Beaton v. SpeedyPC Software, which weighed in on the propriety of certifying a class narrower than the definition proposed in the complaint and upon claims not specifically identified in the complaint. We also briefly look at eight other appellate decisions from the past two weeks that include: (i) holding that the misuse defense under Indiana’s Products Liability Act can be a complete defense; (ii) a party’s complete about-face can be a basis for surprise to obtain relief from a judgment under Trial Rule 60(B)(1); (iii) multi-year assertion that a defendant is subject to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act and numerous delays to await a medical review panel determination can be sufficient to estop a plaintiff from arguing that the defendant is not subject to the Medical Malpractice Act; (iv) contracts attached to complaints are admissible as evidence at trial even if not specifically identified in final exhibits list; (v) a claim for unjust enrichment can be made even if the benefits are provided by a third-party; (vi) courts may commit reversible error when elevating formality over substantial justice with overly rigid application of procedure at trial; (vii) illustrating considerations in applying the doctrines of apparent authority and apparent agency; and (viii) citations to the record along with other citations count toward the word limit in federal appellate filings despite no rule specifically stating that citations are included in the word count.

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Indiana Supreme Court: ‘Even Slight Evidence of Excusable Neglect’ Sufficient to Uphold Trial Court’s Setting Aside of Default Judgment

Indiana Supreme Court: ‘Even Slight Evidence of Excusable Neglect’ Sufficient to Uphold Trial Court’s Setting Aside of Default Judgment

This week, we look at the Indiana Supreme Court’s extremely brief decision in Wamsley v. Tree City Village, which affirmed a trial court’s order setting aside default judgment because there was “even slight evidence of excusable neglect.”

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Indiana Supreme Court: Sexual Assault by Police Officer May be Within Scope of Employment Thereby Exposing Department to Liability

Indiana Supreme Court: Sexual Assault by Police Officer May be Within Scope of Employment Thereby Exposing Department to Liability

In this post, we revisit our discussion from December 1, 2017 of Cox v. Evansville Police Department after the Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer and held that the common-carrier exception does not apply to sexual assaults by on-duty police officers but that such attacks may be sufficiently within the scope of employment that the general doctrine of respondeat superior provides liability for police departments.

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Are You Held to Know Government Regulations That Are Mere Adoptions of Copyrighted Standards Not Freely Accessible? Perhaps Not

Are You Held to Know Government Regulations That Are Mere Adoptions of Copyrighted Standards Not Freely Accessible? Perhaps Not

This week, we discuss the Indiana Supreme Court's decision in Bellwether Properties, LLC v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., which addressed both when a claim may be dismissed under Rule 12(B)(6) for being untimely and whether a person is held to know law that is actually incorporation by reference to copyrighted material, not otherwise freely accessible to the public.

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Indiana Supreme Court: No Private Liability for DCS in Releasing Confidential Identifying Information

Indiana Supreme Court: No Private Liability for DCS in Releasing Confidential Identifying Information

We revisit John Doe #1 v. DCS, in which the court of appeals majority had ruled that a person who reported suspected child neglect and whose identifying information was negligently disclosed in violation of an Indiana statute could bring suit against DCS. In this installment, we look at yesterday's decision from the Indiana Supreme Court, wherein the majority held that no claim could be made against DCS.

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Indiana Supreme Court: Evidence of Prior Alcohol Convictions Are Admissible to Support Punitive Damages Claim

Indiana Supreme Court: Evidence of Prior Alcohol Convictions Are Admissible to Support Punitive Damages Claim

This week we look at the final decision from long-serving Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker, which held that evidence of prior alcohol convictions are admissible in a drunk driving case to support a claim of punitive damages. We also look briefly at two other decisions this week from the Court of Appeals of Indiana. One of those decisions held that an expert in a medical malpractice case who testifies on the applicable standard of care may be cross-examined on his personal practices. The other examined the scope of the duty to warn and affirmed a jury verdict for a passenger injured when the vehicle she was in struck a semi on the side of the road, despite the driver of the car dying and being unable to testify whether he would have taken different actions had the truck driver turned on his emergency flashers.

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Indiana Supreme Court Answers Questions of Admissibility of Immigration Status in Tort Cases

Indiana Supreme Court Answers Questions of Admissibility of Immigration Status in Tort Cases

This week we look to a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, which held that unauthorized-immigration status does not prohibit recovery of damages for diminished earning capacity in tort cases. The court also created a test that requires a finding that the probability that the plaintiff will be deported to be more likely than not in order for evidence of immigration status to be admitted.

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Indiana: Injuries in Sports Drills Are Judged in Light of Sport as a Whole

Indiana: Injuries in Sports Drills Are Judged in Light of Sport as a Whole

This week's discussion revisits the question of whether a sport participant's actions outside the scope of a drill are judged by the risks of the sport as a whole or through the lens of the drill.

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Indiana: When Can an Employer be Liable for an Intentional Tort?

Indiana: When Can an Employer be Liable for an Intentional Tort?

This week's discussion focuses on when an employer can be held liable for the intentional and criminal actions of its employees. The case for discussion finds that an employer may be liable where a security guard shot a woman with whom he was romantically involved after an argument while he was on guard duty at an apartment complex.

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Indiana Supreme Court Issues Rare Decision Addressing Pro Hac Vice Admission in Indiana

Indiana Supreme Court Issues Rare Decision Addressing Pro Hac Vice Admission in Indiana

A discussion of the Indiana Supreme Court's decision in YTC Dream Homes, Inc. v. DirectBuy, Inc. discussing the propriety of pro hac vice admission and also proposing an amendment I'd like to see to Indiana Appellate Rule 14(A) allowing interlocutory appeals of right for decisions denying/granting pro hac admission and for decisions granting or denying disqualification of an attorney.

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Indiana Supreme Court: ‘Value’ of Work Includes More Than Money Paid

Indiana Supreme Court: ‘Value’ of Work Includes More Than Money Paid

This week, the Indiana Supreme Court was faced with an issue of first impression: whether "value" in the Worker's Compensation Act meant only the money paid for the work or whether it included other consideration for the work. The ambiguity was found in a portion of the Act affixing secondary liability for persons contracting for work in excess of $1,000 in value. The plaintiff–an employee of a tree removal business–argued that the act applied because the value of the wood that his employer was allowed to keep, coupled with the $600 paid for the removal, exceeded $1,000. The court agreed.

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Indiana Supreme Court: Trial Court Has Discretion to Not Grant Crime Victims Relief Act Award Even When Predicate Act is Proven

Indiana Supreme Court: Trial Court Has Discretion to Not Grant Crime Victims Relief Act Award Even When Predicate Act is Proven

This discussion focuses on the Indiana Supreme Court decision in Wysocki v. Johnson, in which the Indiana Supreme Court held that a trial court is not obligated to apply the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act even where plaintiffs have proven commission of a predicate act.

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Indiana Supreme Court: Family of Disabled Student Who Choked to Death at School Will Have Day in Court

Indiana Supreme Court: Family of Disabled Student Who Choked to Death at School Will Have Day in Court

This installment focuses on the Indiana Supreme Court decision in Lyons v. Richmond Community School Corporation that examined the application of fraudulent concealment and the discovery rule to the Indiana Tort Claims Act and found that the parents of a severely disabled student who was allowed to choke to death on food at her school could have their day in court.

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Indiana Supreme Court Answers Issue of First Impression on Attorney Fees Under Medical Malpractice Act

Indiana Supreme Court Answers Issue of First Impression on Attorney Fees Under Medical Malpractice Act

Today's discussion examines a case of first impression in the Indiana Supreme Court that reversed the court of appeals decision. The court addressed whether a statutory cap on attorney fee recovery from a client in medical malpractice cases could apply to limit liability for attorney fees under the wrongful death statute in medical malpractice cases.

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Does Indiana’s General Wrongful Death Statute Permit Recovery of Attorney Fees? Court Says, ‘Yes’

Does Indiana’s General Wrongful Death Statute Permit Recovery of Attorney Fees? Court Says, ‘Yes’

This week's discussion looks at a case addressing a novel argument under the Indiana General Wrongful Death Statute that argued attorney fees are only available to decedents without dependents. The Court of Appeals found the statute ambiguous and, applying doctrines of interpretation, held that attorney fees are available to both decedents with and without dependents. Perhaps of greater import, the case looked to whether a contingency fee agreement between plaintiff and its counsel provides the fees to be assessed or whether a reasonable-hourly rate was to be applied. Somewhat surprisingly, the court found the contingency fee agreement to control. The full application of this decision seems certain to be the basis for a great many arguments in the future.

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Does Indiana’s Cap on Punitive Damages Apply to Statutory Treble-Damage Awards? Court Says ‘No’

Does Indiana’s Cap on Punitive Damages Apply to Statutory Treble-Damage Awards? Court Says ‘No’

This week's discussion examines the interplay between Indiana's Punitive Damages Statute that caps and otherwise limits the ability recover common-law punitive damage awards and exemplary damage awards available under certain statutes allowing for, at times, treble damages for successful litigants. The discussion is conducted through the lens of the recent Indiana Supreme Court decision in Andrews v. Mor/Ryde International, Inc.

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7th Circuit (Wood, C.J.) Examines Federal Interpleader & Application of the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

7th Circuit (Wood, C.J.) Examines Federal Interpleader & Application of the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

This week's discussion examines the Rooker-Feldman doctrine along with federal interpleader and the Wilton-Brillhart abstention doctrine through the recent Seventh Circuit decision Arnold v. KJD Rel Estate, LLC. The discussion also takes a brief look at the Indiana Supreme Court case Robinson v. Erie Insurance Exchange–holding that the language of an insurance policy did not extend uninsured motorist coverage to property damage caused by a hit-and-run without physical injury to the driver.

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Indiana Supreme Court: Fraudulent Concealment Tolls Wrongful Death Act Statute of Limitations Period

Indiana Supreme Court: Fraudulent Concealment Tolls Wrongful Death Act Statute of Limitations Period

Today's discussion is a follow up to a prior discussion of the case Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc. which found its way to the Indiana Supreme Court. The court held that the Fraudulent Concealment Statute acts to toll claims for wrongful death thereby permitting a full two-year period to file a claim after learning of the wrongful act as opposed to requiring a reasonable time to file a claim after discovery of the concealment. The opinion is also an example of a masterfully well-written decision that blends sound legal reasoning with florid prose making for an enjoyable read.

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