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Justices reinstate COA decision in Simon defamation suit

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The Indiana Court of Appeals opinion reversing a Marion Superior judge’s denial of a California attorney’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Herbert Simon will stand. The state’s highest court split evenly over whether the trial court should have denied that motion.

According to an order released by the Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday, the participating justices were split 2-2 in their analysis as to whether Marion Superior Judge Heather Welch should have denied attorney Joseph Davis’ motion to dismiss. Simon and his wife, Bui Simon, sued the California attorney who was representing plaintiffs in several lawsuits filed against the Simons in California. The lawsuit stems from comments Davis made to an Indianapolis TV station regarding the lawsuits, which aired in Indiana. The comments referred to the firing of the Simons’ former house manager in California, with Davis saying the termination occurred because the Simons were trying to conceal that they employed an undocumented worker.

The Simons filed their suit in Marion County, arguing defamation and false light publicity based on Davis’ statements. Welch denied Davis’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or grounds of forum non conveniens. A split Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Davis in February 2012.

The justices took the case in August and heard arguments in October. Only three justices heard the case – Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Robert Rucker and Steven David. Justice Loretta Rush was not on the court when the case was heard, and Justice Mark Massa did not participate in the case.

Indiana Appellate Rule 58(C) dictates that when the Supreme Court is evenly divided after granting transfer, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reinstated.

 

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

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  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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