The Indiana Supreme Court will decide the defamation case filed by Herbert and Bui Simon against a California attorney. The justices will also decide whether a woman’s lawsuit for unpaid wages should have been brought before the Indiana Department of Labor before she filed her action.
The justices took four cases: Joseph A. Davis v. Herbert Simon and Bui Simon, 49S04-1208-CT-498; Brandy L. Walczak, Individually and on behalf of those similarly situated, v. Labor Works – Fort Wayne LLC, d/b/a Labor Works, 02S04-1208-PL-497; Ronald B. Hawkins v. State of Indiana, 20S03-1208-CR-499; and Whiskey Barrel Planters Co., Inc. d/b/a Diggs Enterprises, Inc., an Indiana Corporation, Robinson Family Enterprises, LLC, an Indiana Limited Liability Company, Ralph Richard Robinson and Ann Robinson v. American Gardenworks, Inc., an Indiana Corporation and Millennium Real Estate Investment, LLC, 04S03-1209-PL-503.
In Davis, the Simons sued California attorney Joseph Davis for defamation based on comments he made to an Indianapolis television station regarding lawsuits involving the Simons. The Court of Appeals ruled on interlocutory appeal an attorney, in answering a reporter’s unsolicited questions – in which Davis made comments regarding the allegations of a lawsuit and represented that the allegations were truthful – without more, doesn’t constitute “expressly aiming” one’s conduct at the forum state. Judge James Kirsch dissented, believing Davis’ conduct was expressly aimed at Indiana.
In Walczak, Brandy Walczak alleged violations of the Wage Payment Statute and the Wage Deduction Statute against Labor Works-Fort Wayne, which provides temporary day-laborer services to businesses. The appellate court reversed summary judgment for Labor Works, finding Walczak first had to submit her claim to the Department of Labor for resolution.
In Hawkins, the Court of Appeals held that Ronald Hawkins’ due process rights weren’t violated when he was charged in absentia and without trial counsel on felony nonsupport of a dependent child charges. The judges ruled one of the felonies should be reduced from a Class C to a Class D, and they found he waived his right to counsel. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented because “of the importance of an attorney for a fair proceeding.”
In Whiskey Barrel, the Court of Appeals ruled that a company that acquired Whiskey Barrel Planters was not entitled to the Purdue football season tickets purchased by Whiskey Barrel’s former owner based on the purchase agreement between the two companies. The judges also found that American GardenWorks was not entitled to collect on loans made by Whiskey Barrel to the previous shareholders and that AGW did not acquire the shareholders’ personal property under the terms of the agreement. The COA remanded for further proceedings.
The high court also declined to take 27 cases for the week ending Aug. 31.