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Justices adopt repayment plan in UPL case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has adopted a repayment plan for an Indianapolis company it found engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, ordering officials to reimburse the state bar association and former clients during the next six years.

An order came Jan. 20 in State ex rel. Indiana State Bar Association v. United Financial Systems Corp., et al., No. 94S00-0810-MS-551, the latest, and possibly final, court action in a case that has been ongoing for more than three years. The justices found nearly two years ago that United Financial Systems Corp. engaged in UPL through an estate planning “trust mill” by how it sold wills and estate planning services. The justices ordered past customers be refunded, but that didn’t happen and former Monroe Circuit Judge Viola Taliaferro was appointed to preside over the case.

She submitted a 61-page report to the justices in December that outlined the repayment plan. The report found the company still owed nearly $2.4 million and that the Office of the Indiana Attorney General should be allowed to disburse half of the refunds immediately and the other half when the money’s available over the course of several years.

In July 2011, she found the officials at United Financial Systems hadn’t complied with the Supreme Court’s order in April 2010 to repay past estate planning customers. But she held off on finding the company and its officials — Richard Follett, Jayne Follett, Richard Follett II and Beau Follett — in contempt in the December 2011 order. The Supreme Court agreed that the United Financial leaders wouldn’t be held in contempt if they complied with the repayment plan.

Finding that the Folletts asserted “frivolous, unreasonable and groundless arguments in an effort to delay issuing refunds,” Taliaferro decided that the ISBA is entitled to recover its attorney fees and costs incurred in enforcing the Supreme Court’s original April 2010 order.

In Taliaferro’s December 2011 order, she determined the Folletts owe $2,391,808.17. The ISBA is still owed $115,000 as of Dec. 14. The justices on Jan. 13 ordered United Financial pay the Indiana Supreme Court $16,002.95 for the costs of the proceeding against it. Specifically, the order calculated the costs to entail $14,978.45 for the commissioner fees and expenses and $1,024.50 for court reporter and related court costs.

Some payments have already begun under the payment plan’s terms, and United Financial must now pay the ISBA $5,000 per month through November 2013. The order also details specific payments that must be made through 2018 when the final payments are supposed to be made to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. If Richard and Jayne Follett sell their former Boone County home that’s listed for sale, the net proceeds are to be made as part of the payments toward the remaining refund amount.

 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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