ILNews

Judge rules against Inlow heirs

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J.K. Wall
Special to IL

A week after a bizarre court hearing where opposing attorneys took turns questioning one another on the witness stand, Hamilton County Judge Steve Nation ruled Friday that the heirs of former Conseco Inc. executive Lawrence Inlow failed to justify their attempt to remove Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank as the personal representative of the estate.

Nation could “find no wrongdoing or improper conduct on the part of the Successor Personal Representative [Fifth Third] or their attorneys,” he wrote in his ruling.

On July 16, Nation listened to the Inlow heirs’ charge that Fifth Third and its attorneys were hostile to the heirs and were defrauding them by prolonging the case and racking up fees of more than $2.2 million.

Inlow’s estate was worth $180 million when he was accidentally killed by a helicopter rotor in 1997. He was chief counsel for Carmel-based Conseco, a life and health insurer that has since changed its name to CNO Financial Group Inc.

The heirs – Jason, Jeremy and Sarah Inlow – are represented by Indianapolis law firm Frank & Kraft. Fifth Third is represented by Indianapolis law firm Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman.

Nation took both firms to task for name calling and making baseless accusations.

“The continuation of name calling and accusations is not in the benefit of the clients and obscures the remaining legal issues,” he wrote. “Many of the accusations that have been made public have later been shown to be without merit and groundless. Such comments have only served to fuel the tension in this cause and have no legitimate place in a court of law.”

Requests for comment from both law firms were not immediately returned Friday afternoon.

The Inlow heirs have objected to Hall Render’s fees since 2004, around the same time the bulk of the estate funds were disbursed. The Inlows have refused to pay nearly $761,000 – more than the $600,000 they say remains in the estate.
 

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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