Law firm strikes out in seeking to toss Kokomo baseball litigation

An out-of-state law firm can’t avoid a lawsuit in the Indiana Commercial Court alleging legal malpractice in its handling of litigation that arose from failed efforts pitching a minor league baseball team for Kokomo.

Thomas Ysursa is a Belleville, Illinois, attorney, and for 10 years until early 2019 he was general counsel for Frontier Professional Baseball, which through 2014 had attempted to work a deal for a franchise in Kokomo. The league currently has one Indiana team, the Evansville Otters.

After a Kokomo franchise failed to materialize, a lawsuit was filed in 2015 in federal court, which settled after Frontier was denied summary judgment in 2018. Frontier then sued Ysursa and his firm, Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa, P.C., and other out-of-state attorneys in Indiana Commercial Court for their handling of the lawsuit. The other attorneys named by Frontier League as defendants in this case have been dismissed from this appeal and are separately appealing a denial of their motion for summary judgment.

After Marion Superior Commercial Court Judge Heather Welch denied the Ysursa parties’ motion to dismiss, they filed the instant interlocutory appeal, Thomas R. Ysursa and Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa, P.C. v. Frontier Professional Baseball, Inc. 20A-CT-49.

The Indiana Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the ruling, setting the stage for further proceedings in the commercial court.

“Because Ysursa actively participated in the (federal court lawsuit), he had the necessary minimum contacts with Indiana for the trial court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over him,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel. “And under the facts and circumstances of this case, the trial court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over Ysursa is not unreasonable. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.”

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