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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.