Articles Posted in Indiana Supreme Court

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A steel fabrication company deposited solid waste on a landowner's property, after which the landowner (Plaintiff) filed a complaint seeking damages against multiple parties (Defendants) and on multiple grounds, including a claim for an environmental legal action (ELA). Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on his environmental legal action claim and sought to impose corporate liability on Defendants. Defendants filed cross motions for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims, except for his claim of negligence. The trial court denied Plaintiff's motions and granted Defendants' motions as to all claims, leaving for trial only Plaintiff's negligence claim and the claims of potential liability against Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that summary judgment was (1) not proper for either party on Plaintiff's ELA claim; (2) not proper for Defendants on Plaintiff's illegal dumping, fraud, nuisance, and trespass claims; (3) proper for Defendants on Plaintiff's unjust enrichment and intentional torts claims; (4) proper for certain defendants on Plaintiff's responsible corporate officer claim but improper as to others; and (5) proper for Plaintiff on his claims against one defendant as responsible corporate officer. View "Reed v. Reid" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff co-established Company. Plaintiff later sold his majority interest pursuant to an agreement calling for payments to Plaintiff and giving Plaintiff a security interest in Company's assets. Company subsequently applied for credit with Bank, which transaction made Plaintiff's security interest in Company's assets subordinate to Bank's. Thereafter, Company went out of business, leaving loans unpaid. Plaintiff brought claims against Bank for negligence, constructive fraud, actual fraud, and tortious interference with a contract. The trial court granted Bank's motion for judgment on the evidence on all claims, including finding that Bank owed no duty to Purcell. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling as to the issues of duty but reversed the trial court's judgment on the evidence as to Purcell's remaining claims. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed the trial court, holding (1) there was not sufficient evidence presented in this case to withstand a motion for judgment on the evidence on Purcell's claims of fraud, deception, and tortious interference with a contract; and (2) Purcell's relationship with Bank as a subordinate creditor did not give rise to a duty of care required to prove Purcell's claims of negligence and constructive fraud. View "Purcell v. Old Nat'l Bank" on Justia Law

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In this case the Supreme Court examined whether income received by a corporation's affiliated foreign reinsurance companies falls within the ambit of Indiana's gross premium privilege tax statute and is on that basis exempt from Indiana adjusted gross income tax. The corporation in this case was UPS, which protested the Indiana Department of Revenue's audit, which disallowed the exclusion from Indiana adjusted gross income the income of UPS's affiliates. The Indiana tax court granted UPS's motion for summary judgment, reasoning that because UPS was "subject to" the premium tax, it was exempt from the adjusted gross income tax. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the record did not establish that during the years in question UPS's affiliates were doing business within the state of Indiana, which was a necessary condition in order to be "subject to" the premium tax, UPS failed in its burden of establishing that it was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Remanded. View "Ind. Dep't of Revenue v. UPS" on Justia Law

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Appellant, R.L. Turner Corporation, filed suit against Appellee, the Town of Brownsburg. The court subsequently granted Appellee's petition for attorneys' fees. The court of appeals affirmed. Appellant appealed, contending, principally, that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order on fees because entering a final judgment terminates a trial court's jurisdiction and the order granting Appellee's motion to dismiss constituted a final judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in awarding the petition, and noting that jurisdictional concepts were the wrong analytical tool for determining whether an Indiana trial court's post-judgment action was a valid exercise of its authority.

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Franklin Electric formed two new subsidiaries and started new unemployment experience accounts with a low introductory contribution rate for each one, which equaled about half the experience rating of Franklin Electric. The Department of Workforce Development later canceled the subsidiaries' experience accounts, and all experience balances and liabilities reverted to Franklin Electric. The Department also demanded back payments, interest, and a ten percent penalty. A liability administrative law judge (LALJ) affirmed the Department's determination that the three entities were a single employer but waived the penalty imposed by the Department. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted transfer and vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and affirmed the determination of the LALJ, holding (1) the new subsidiaries were not new employers because they were not distinct and segregable from Franklin Electric; (2) Franklin Electric's experience rating should have applied to contributions made by the subsidiaries; and (3) because there was no evidence suggesting improper conduct on the part of Franklin Electric, the penalty was not appropriate.