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Indiana Supreme Court Argument Preview: Week of June 15, 2009
Posted in Litigation

On Tuesday, June 16, the Indiana Supreme Court will hear argument in three cases.

  • At 9 a.m., the Court will hear Gary Community School Corporation v. Roach-Walker.  Roach-Walker filed an action after she slipped on the School’s sidewalk and fell.  After she presented her case to the jury, the School moved for a directed verdict on grounds that it was entitled to immunity under the Tort Claims Act because the fall was caused by a temporary condition on a public thoroughfare resulting from weather.  The Lake Superior Court denied the motion, and the jury returned a verdict for Roach-Walker.  The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in this not-for-publication opinion.  In its opinion, the Court of Appeals concluded that the School did not satisfy its burden of demonstrating that the condition was “temporary” – i.e., that it did not have the opportunity to remove the ice or other slick condition from the sidewalk.
  • At 9:45 a.m., the Court will hear Bradshaw v. Chandler.  Following a car accident, Bradshaw filed a complaint against his own insurance company for underinsured motorist benefits.  Over two years after the accident, Bradshaw amended his complaint to add a claim for uninsured motorist benefits.  The insurance company moved for summary judgment arguing that the amended complaint was barred by a two-year contractual limitation period.  The trial court granted the motion, and the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in this not-for-publication opinion.  In its opinion, the Court of Appeals concluded that the contractual limitation was enforceable even if a claim might otherwise have been proper under the discovery rule or Indiana Trial Rule 15(C) if no such limitation were in the contract.
  • At 10:30 a.m., the Court will hear State v. Lafayette.  Lafayette was found guilty of rape and other charges at a jury trial in the Lake Superior Court.  At trial, the State introduced Lafayette’s statement to police that sex with the victim was consensual.  Then, the State argued that because Lafayette had put his intent at issue in his statement to police, it was permitted under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) to introduce testimony from a woman whom Lafayette had been convicted of attempting to rape in 1997.  Lafayette argued that his pretrial statement could not be deemed as him having placed his intent at issue for purposes of Rule 404(b).  The trial court allowed the testimony.  A divided Court of Appeals held that was reversible error in Lafayette v. State, 899 N.E.2d 736 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009) (available here).
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