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Supreme Court divided on whether man's claims against bank can proceed

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Two Indiana justices believed that a man’s actual fraud and tortious interference with contract claims against Old National Bank should go to trial, an opposite conclusion reached by their fellow justices.

Justices Frank Sullivan, Mark Massa and Steven David – who authored the majority opinion – found there wasn’t sufficient evidence presented by James Purcell to withstand a motion for judgment on the evidence by the bank on his claims of fraud, deception, and tortious interference with a contract.

Purcell had a security interest in Midwest Fulfillment, a company he established in 1998, that required if the company’s assets-to-liabilities ratio fell below a certain level for three consecutive months, Midwest Fulfillment would be in default and Purcell would gain 100 percent ownership of the company. He previously had sold his majority interest in the company.

Midwest got a line of credit from Old National Bank, which required Purcell to sign a subordination agreement making his security interest in the assets subordinate to Old National’s interest. Both Purcell and Old National received monthly financial statements from the company. A couple of years later, the company went out of business and Old National liquidated the assets.

Purcell sued Midwest, and during interrogation of Joseph Stein, a majority owner of the company, Stein testified as though an employee of Old National instructed Stein to make adjustments to the company’s balance sheets. These adjustments kept the company above the threshold ratio. Purcell then sued Old National for negligence, constructive fraud, actual fraud, deception and tortious interference with a contract. At this trial, Stein’s interrogatory answer was entered as proof that the bank employee instructed Stein to knowingly make false statements. Both the bank employee and Stein denied that the balance sheets were falsified at the bank’s direction.

The trial court granted Old National’s motion for judgment on the evidence on all claims, finding the bank owed no duty to Purcell. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed with respect to the fraud, deception, and tortious interference with a contract claims.

The majority affirmed the trial court, finding Purcell didn’t produce sufficient evidence to withstand the motion for judgment on the evidence on the claims of fraud, deception, and tortuous interference.

Justice Robert Rucker and Chief Justice Brent Dickson dissented regarding these claims because the majority affirmed the lower court on grounds the trial court didn’t reach, Rucker wrote. Also, the conflicting inferences from the evidence before the jury on Stein’s testimony precluded judgment on the evidence on these two claims.

The justices did all agree with the lower court’s judgment on the evidence regarding Purcell’s claims of negligence and constructive fraud. Purcell’s relationship with the bank as a subordinate creditor didn’t give rise to a duty of care required to prove these claims. They also affirmed the denial of attorney fees for Old National.
 

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    The link is in there - the word "sued" was hyperlinked. I've hopefully made the link more obvious.
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    1. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

    2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

    3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

    4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

    5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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