ILNews

Detailed settlement agreement not specific enough for son to claim funds

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Although a settlement agreement worked out between siblings included details about who would receive the comic books, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled because the document did not specifically address the accounts receivable, one of the surviving sons would not be entitled to the money.

After George W. King Sr. died in 2001, his three children began fighting over the ownership of his many businesses. His daughter, Kay King, and her son, Christopher King, filed a complaint against her brothers, George King and Bob King, and against five of her father’s corporations and three partnerships.

In June 2003, the trial court appointed a receiver. About a year later, the receiver paid more than $2 million for the estate’s outstanding tax liabilities. He drew the bulk of the funds from one particular company, Crown Associates Inc. because that entity had more liquid assets available than the other businesses. The receiver credited Crown by creating an account receivable which in 2007 was valued at $687,278.

On Feb. 22, 2005, the siblings entered into a Term Sheet for Settlement of Litigation which represented their partial agreement on the broad outlines of asset distribution. As a part of that document, the assets and/or equity interest of Crown was conveyed to the son, George Dean King.  

Concluding the accounts receivable were not part of the assets, the trial court ruled the receiver should eliminate all inter-company accounts prior to transferring Crown to George King.

On appeal, George King argued the court abused its discretion when it approved the elimination of certain Crown accounts receivable prior to conveyance. He asserted the accounts receivable were still on the books when the Term Sheet was executed in February 2005.
 
The COA disagreed in George Dean King v. Kay S. King, et al., 49A02-1202-MF-73. It noted the receiver initially proposed that all receivership entities be liquidated with the proceeds being divided equally between the siblings. However, that goal was altered after the siblings executed the Term Sheet which made the assets included in each receivership entity important.  

While the Term Sheet divided a multitude of assets ranging from real estate to safety deposit boxes and even comic books, it did not address Crown’s accounts receivable.

“Given the level of detail embodied in the Term Sheet,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote, “the absence of a clear expression by the parties to repay the accounts receivable which had been expressly created by the Receiver during the Receivership and which existed during the execution of the Term Sheet, is evidence of intent that no such offset was bargained for.”


 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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  5. 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!

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