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Husband’s settlement proceeds should be included in marital pot

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Monroe Circuit Court to include a husband’s settlement proceeds from an action against his former employer as a marital asset when he and his wife divorced.

Paul Edwards sued his former employer alleging damages to his career for the non-renewal of his contract in 2006; in July 2010, his wife Zobeida E. Bonilla-Vega filed for divorce. In October 2010, Edwards’ lawsuit against his former employer settled.

In November 2011, when the trial court entered the decree dissolving the marriage, the judge included the settlement proceeds in the marital pot. Edwards doesn’t believe those proceeds should be included, but the trial court denied his motion to correct error.

The action against Edwards’ former employer is a chose in action. Edwards argued that the proceeds aren’t subject to distribution in the marital estate because the exact amount of damages weren’t known at the time Bonilla-Vega filed for divorce. She argued that the proceeds should be included because the chose in action was a property right that existed before she filed for divorce.

The trial court agreed with the ex-wife in Paul D. Edwards v. Zobeida E. Bonilla-Vega, 53A05-1203-DR-163.

“The fact remains a chose in action is a property right that comes into existence when the tort occurs,” Judge Melissa May wrote. “Pursuant to statute, a property right acquired during the marriage is subject to division as part of the dissolution. Here, there is no dispute that Husband’s chose in action against his employer came into existence in 2006, which was during the marriage. Thus, Husband’s chose in action was marital property that the court did not have discretion to exclude from the marital estate.”

 

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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