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Ex-employee wins appeal and prejudgment interest

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A former employee is entitled to commissions owed to him after he left a real estate company, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday. The judges also found the ex-employee is entitled to prejudgment interest.

Peter Karagan worked for Dennis Larson’s real estate companies for two years before leaving in December 2007. His oral agreement with Larson said Karagan would be paid 75 percent of the gross commissions Larson received for transactions Karagan procured. When Larson didn’t pay up, Karagan sued for breach of contract and conversion. Larson did not respond to Karagan’s motion for summary judgment or to Karagan’s two requests for admission of fact.

The Lake Superior Court found Karagan was entitled to treble damages and awarded him $177,612.50 plus costs and future commissions, but denied his request for prejudgment interest.

In Dennis Larson, Rose Real Estate, Inc., and Diversified Commercial Real Estate v. Peter N. Karagan, 45A04-1112-CC-656, the Court of Appeals found Karagan’s designated evidence doesn’t give rise to a genuine issue of material fact, as Larson argued.

The judges also rejected Larson’s claim that there was no evidence of criminal intent to support the application of the criminal conversion statute that was used to award treble damages. The Court of Appeals cited White v. Indiana Realty Associates II, 555 N.E.2d 454, 458 (Ind. 1990), to support the trial court’s determination that Karagan was entitled to treble damages.

The evidence also established what Karagan’s commission was, the transactions for which he was entitled to commissions, and the amount of the commissions, so the trial court should have awarded Karagan prejudgment interest, Judge Melissa May wrote. The judges remanded the matter to the trial court to do so.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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