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Company hit with class action suits

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Two class action lawsuits have been filed against an Indianapolis firm that had offered estate planning services to people. Now, the Indiana Supreme Court is considering what happens next against the company it found a year ago had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

At the heart of the issue is United Financial Systems, which lost its license to operate because of an order by the state’s insurance commissioner Jan. 28. That suspension stemmed from a targeted market conduct examination the state agency began last fall and the company’s failure to submit payments. Following an Indiana Supreme Court decision last year and the company’s subsequent license suspension, there has been a growing storm against United Financial.

In State of Indiana, Ex. Rel. Indiana State Bar Association v. United Financial Systems Corp., No. 84S00-0810-MS-551, filed by the Indiana State Bar Association in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in April 2010 that the company had engaged in UPL based on how it offered estate planning services. The court ordered that customers be notified and reimbursed, but that didn’t happen and the state’s justices in December again ordered the company to notify and refund money to those it had sold estate planning services.

The justices in January appointed former Monroe Circuit Judge Viola Taliaferro as commissioner, and after three meetings between parties she found on March 28 that United Financial had failed without good cause to pay refunds to 346 customers. The company had 15 days from the date of that order to issue refunds to those individuals.

But the two lawsuits pick up where the ISBA suit left off. The first lawsuit, Donald A. Bonnell and Wayne L. Landes v. United Financial Systems Corporation, No. 25C01-1101-PL-00051, was filed in January in Fulton County by Logansport law firm Starr Austen & Miller. A second suit is Richard L. Kennard v. United Financial Systems Corporation, No. 49C01-1103-PL-010470, filed March 16 in Marion County by law firm Cohen & Malad. The suits allege constructive fraud, contractual claim violations, conversion, and disgorgement of fees due to UPL.•

Rehearing "Court orders refunds in estate planning UPL case" IL Jan. 5-18, 2011

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. 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?

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