Justices reinstate COA decision in Simon defamation suit

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The Indiana Court of Appeals opinion reversing a Marion Superior judge’s denial of a California attorney’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Herbert Simon will stand. The state’s highest court split evenly over whether the trial court should have denied that motion.

According to an order released by the Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday, the participating justices were split 2-2 in their analysis as to whether Marion Superior Judge Heather Welch should have denied attorney Joseph Davis’ motion to dismiss. Simon and his wife, Bui Simon, sued the California attorney who was representing plaintiffs in several lawsuits filed against the Simons in California. The lawsuit stems from comments Davis made to an Indianapolis TV station regarding the lawsuits, which aired in Indiana. The comments referred to the firing of the Simons’ former house manager in California, with Davis saying the termination occurred because the Simons were trying to conceal that they employed an undocumented worker.

The Simons filed their suit in Marion County, arguing defamation and false light publicity based on Davis’ statements. Welch denied Davis’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or grounds of forum non conveniens. A split Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Davis in February 2012.

The justices took the case in August and heard arguments in October. Only three justices heard the case – Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Robert Rucker and Steven David. Justice Loretta Rush was not on the court when the case was heard, and Justice Mark Massa did not participate in the case.

Indiana Appellate Rule 58(C) dictates that when the Supreme Court is evenly divided after granting transfer, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reinstated.



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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues