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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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