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Judges affirm $40,000 judgment in lawsuit involving neighbors

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Noting the grounds on which a defendant sought relief from a $40,000 default judgment are unclear, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the man must pay his neighbor that amount.

George Niederkorn sued Dan Weaver for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Niederkorn attempted to serve Weaver by first-class mail and certified mail. In October 2012, Niederkorn personally served a copy of the complaint and summons on Weaver at his residence, which is across the hall from Niederkorn’s resident in a condominium complex.

A default judgment was entered in December after Weaver failed to respond. The judge in the case received a letter from Weaver dated the day before the default judgment was entered claiming he just received a letter and copy of the motion for default judgment. The trial court twice continued the evidentiary hearing on damages per Weaver’s request, but after he or an attorney failed to appear at a March 2013 hearing, the judge entered default judgment of $40,366.18 against Weaver.

Weaver later claimed he didn’t show up because he had jury duty; the judge checked and he had not been called for duty on the date of the hearing.  Weaver filed a motion to correct error, which was denied.

In Dan Weaver v. George Niederkorn, 49A05-1309-CT-448, the judges noted the grounds on which Weaver sought relief are unclear, but whether they look at it under T.R. 60(B) (1) or (6), Weaver has not established reversible error.

Weaver cited no authority to support his claim that Niederkorn’s personal service upon him was insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction and the judges refused to reweigh the evidence regarding whether the complaint was credible.

 

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  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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