ILNews

Federal judge gives green light to trial

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
A federal judge in Indianapolis has ruled a lawsuit can proceed to trial over a "very fast, and valuable, race car."

The Not for Publication opinion issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder is Reginald D. "Don" Whittington Jr. v. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation a.k.a. Hall of Fame Museum, No. 1:06-cv-0333-JDT-TAB.

Judge Tinder denied motions for summary judgment and determined that a trial is the only likely way to resolve this dispute involving the ownership of a famous Porsche 935 used in the French car race that is considered the Indianapolis 500 of endurance racing.

In 1979, the driver racing team of brother Don and Bill Whittington and German driver Klaus Ludwig won the 24 Hours of Le Mans that is raced in France each year on a circuit that combines racetrack and closed public roads. This litigation focuses on the ownership of the Whittingtons' 935 K-3 racecar, which both parties disagree whether it was donated or loaned to the IMS Museum of History in the early 1980s.

After giving the car to the IMS, Don Whittington raced for several years before dissolving the brothers' racing company, spending time in prison for tax conspiracy, and eventually asking in August 2004 for the Porsche to be returned so he could show it at a vintage car event in Florida. The IMS Foundation - which had maintained, insured for $375,000, and periodically displayed the car for more than 20 years - declined to return the Porsche it classified as a donation. This suit was filed in February 2006.

In Judge Tinder's ruling, he notes that neither party can point to written records establishing the nature of the ownership transfer - "the history of the Porsche 935 K-3 is little more than a story of handshake deals," the judge wrote.

As a result, he denied Whittington's motion for summary judgment on claims of conversion and replevin, and also denied the Foundation's motions for summary judgment on statute of limitations and laches grounds.
ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT