Justices base ruling on level of intent

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The Indiana Supreme Court has determined that not enough evidence of intent existed for a judge to grant summary judgment for a bank alleging a business owner committed fraud.

In Harold J. Klinker v. First Merchants Bank, N.A., No. 01S04-1107-PL-438, the justices reversed an Adams Circuit Court ruling on fraud claims because genuine issues of material fact exist about whether the defendant acted with the requisite criminal intent.

The case involves a used car dealership manager in Decatur. In December 2008, First Merchants Bank discovered that 31 vehicles that the bank had loaned purchase money for weren’t in Harold Klinker’s possession and some had been transferred to another dealer. The bank sued Klinker on fraud.

When the bank moved for summary judgment, Klinker filed an affidavit stating that only 22 vehicles were “missing.” But the trial court refused to consider the document, reasoning that it had not been properly designated and that no genuine issue of material fact existed about the vehicles. The judge also determined Klinker had defaulted and acted with intent to commit fraud and granted summary judgment to the bank along with attorney fees and treble damages.

The Court of Appeals held the trial court had erred in refusing to consider Klinker’s, affidavit, but that summary judgment was proper because the affidavit consisted of self-serving statements unsupported by real evidence.

On transfer, the justices found that the bank’s evidence is not sufficient to warrant summary judgment on the element of intent. The trial court could have reasonably determined that only a simple breach of contract occurred rather than criminal fraud, regardless of how strong the evidence may have appeared, Justice Frank Sullivan wrote. The justices made a similar finding in regard to whether Klinker acted with the requisite intent under the state’s bank fraud statute.

The justices emphasized that they’re only determining whether summary judgment was proper, not the strength of the fraud evidence presented by the bank. The case is remanded for further proceedings at the trial level.



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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.