ILNews

Court: Records inspection needs testimony

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision to allow a couple to inspect a company's financial statements, finding the trial court relied only on an affidavit - and not testimony - to allow the inspection.

In Bacompt Systems, Inc. v. Angelina Peck and David C. Peck, No. 29A02-0708-CV-646, the Pecks made separate written requests to view Bacompt's financial documents. The Pecks, who lived in Pennsylvania, owned approximately 25 percent of the company's stock. Prior to David C. Peck's termination as president of Bacompt in May 2006, Angelina filed for divorce in Pennsylvania.

David C. Peck made his request to Bacompt for the financial documents to see if Buddy C. Stanley, the principal shareholder of Bacompt, had misappropriated funds. Stanley had filed a suit in federal court accusing David of writing unauthorized Bacompt checks for his and Angelina's personal use. Angelina requested Bacompt's financial documents to try to value her stock holdings in the company.

Initially, Bacompt refused to hand over the documents, citing David didn't specify his purpose for the documents in his written request and the company's belief that Angelina's request was untimely. Later, the company agreed to hand over certain documents, but would not turn over the KSM report, which is prepared by the company's outside accountant and included an analysis relating to the checks that are of issue in the federal lawsuit as well as a review of expenses charged to Bacompt from 2003 through 2005.

The Pecks then filed a petition for inspection of corporate records, which the trial court granted based on an affidavit submitted from Angelina with the pre-hearing brief that stated she needed to inspect the records to value her stock in her pending divorce.

Bacompt appealed, stating the Pecks didn't prove under Indiana Code 23-1-52-2 that their demand for inspection was in good faith and for a proper purpose, as well as the trial court erred in allowing the KSM report in the inspection of documents.

The Court of Appeals found no abuse of discretion when the trial court accepted Angelina's affidavit after a motion was filed. However, the appellate court did find the trial court erred in relying on Angelina's affidavit to enter its judgment.

Pursuant to Trial Rule 43(A), testimony was required to be given in open court in order to allow Bacompt the right to cross-examine and to observe witnesses' demeanor and determine credibility, wrote Judge Cale Bradford.

"In that Angelina's affidavit was introduced into evidence in lieu of her testimony for purposes of establishing - as a matter of fact - the Pecks's purpose in seeking to inspect Bacompt's corporate records, we conclude this was an error," he wrote.

In regards to Bacompt's appeal, the KSM report should not be included for inspection; the appellate court ruled the trial court should determine that on remand. Since there was no factual record in this case demonstrating a proper purpose, Judge Bradford wrote it was unnecessary for the appellate court to address this issue.
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  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

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