ILNews

Brother in Holiday World dispute still fighting for ownership

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The family battle over the southern Indiana amusement park, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, could be moving to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Attorneys representing Dan Koch filed a petition to transfer Dec. 5. They argue under a “legitimate reading” of the agreement between the park’s shareholders and the estate of the William Koch Jr., the estate is only entitled payment for William Koch’s shares and cannot be the majority shareholder.

The Koch Development Corp.’s 2002 share purchase and security agreement required the corporation to buy all the shares of common stock whenever a shareholder died. After Will, then the majority owner, passed away in June 2010, his brother, Dan, became owner and operator of Holiday World.

Dan subsequently tendered an offer of $26.9 million for Will’s majority shares. However, Will’s widow charged that Dan had undervalued the shares and the actual purchase price is $32.1 million.

In October, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Dan and KDC materially breached the agreement and, therefore, the estate did not have to sell Will’s shares.     

Petitioning for transfer, Dan asserted the Court of Appeals improperly relied on the “first party to breach” doctrine. He argued this doctrine has been repealed by the adoption of Section 242 of the Restatement (Second) of Contracts which expressly calls for contracts to be enforced even when there has been a material breach.

“Under no reasonable interpretation of the Court of Appeals’ Opinion did the court enforce the Agreement,” Dan’s petition stated. “Instead, relying on the ‘first party to breach’ doctrine, the court rewrote the Agreement to provide extra-contractual relief to the Estate, contrary to the expectations of the parties.”

In addition, Dan faulted estate’s continued assertion that he failed to act within the 180-day period imposed by the agreement. He stated that the estate’s position is unfounded and runs counter to Indiana law.

Dan concluded that Indiana law requires the estate to sell Will’s share to him and KDC.

“To rule otherwise, allowing the Estate to keep Will’s stock – and thus majority ownership in KDC – would defeat the clear expectations of the parties of the Agreement and, contrary to the Estate’s position, would grant it an unlawful windfall, because under no legitimate reading of the Agreement is the Estate entitled to anything other than the purchase price of Will’s shares,” the petition states.



 

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. 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."

ADVERTISEMENT