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Court erred in barring expert witness in decade-old software suit

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A trial court erred when it excluded the expert testimony of a witness who sought to address damages for a software company whose former employees allegedly violated non-compete clauses.

In the latest chapter of litigation dating to 2002, the Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed the Porter Superior Court’s grant of a motion to exclude economic and business valuation testimony of an expert for the plaintiffs in Think Tank Software Development Corp. d/b/a Think Tank Networking Technologies Group, et al. v. Chester, Inc., Mike Heinhold, John Mario, Joel Parker, Thomas Guelinas, et al., 64A05-1205-PL-270.

Mike Heinhold, John Mario,Joel Parker, Thomas Guelinas and other former employees of Think Tank who years earlier went to work for Chester wanted to exclude the testimony of an expert whose qualifications and reliability of scientific principles were disputed. The trial court granted the motion.

In reversing, Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote that once an expert’s scientific theories are determined to be reliable under Trial Rule 702, cross-examination is the means of exposing dissimilarities between actual evidence and an expert’s theories.

Sharpnack also clarified potential damages in the 17-page order. “Stated simply, four of Think Tank’s claims survived summary judgment: breach of a covenant not to compete, breach of a covenant of confidentiality, misappropriation of trade secrets, and tortious interference with contract. In Think Tank I, (64A03-1003-PL-172) we noted, ‘The proper measure of damages for breach of a covenant is the plaintiff’s lost net profits,’” Sharpnack wrote.

“Finally, to the extent that (the expert’s) profit erosion analysis is based solely on the departure from Think Tank of the defendant employees and their subsequent employment by Chester, the analysis may be inadmissible because the defendant employees were free to leave and become employees elsewhere. They committed no wrong, contractually or otherwise, against Think Tank merely by leaving,” the court said.




 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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