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Appeals court reverses summary judgment in business ownership dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday reversed summary judgment in favor of defendants in a dispute involving ownership of a business.

A panel unanimously reversed an order by Hendricks Circuit Judge Jeffrey V. Boles that granted summary judgment in Don Morris and Randy Coakes v. Brad Crain, Richard Redpath, Biosafe Engineering, LLC, Steven Biesecker, Tyler Johnson, Brandon Ross and Chris Sollars, No. 32C01-1003-PL-414.

Appeals Court Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in a unanimous opinion that because the court “ordered the parties to implement a procedure inconsistent with summary judgment proceedings, summary judgment was improvidently granted.”

Boles issued an order dismissing several of the defendants from the lawsuit and ordering the remaining parties to submit documents within 10 days. Plaintiffs were ordered to state legal theories asserted against the defendants; defendants were ordered to detail the legal elements of the plaintiffs’ theories they assert had not been met.

Don Morris and Randy Coakes sued after selling a biological effluent destruction systems products company in which they had interest, along with other officials who had lesser interests. The suit was filed after Morris was fired by Steven Biesecker.

The plaintiffs alleged they had equitable interests and contractual rights in BioSafe Engineering and standing to bring a shareholder derivative action that would include seeking appointment of a receiver, an accounting and disgorgement of funds, and BioSafe’s dissolution.

The defendants denied that Richard Redpath and Brad Crain created a false document, made false representations, brought about the plaintiff’s ouster, diverted funds, or met with Morris to discuss ownership participation. The defendants also denied that Morris and Coakes held an equitable interest or that they had standing to bring a shareholder derivative claim.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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