Justia Business Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana
New Nello Operating Co., Inc. v. CompressAir
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court for CompressAir and thus rejected CompressAir's claim that a certain transfer was fraudulent and remanded with instructions to enter judgment for New Nello Operating Company, holding that continuity of ownership between two companies is necessary for an exception to the general rule that, in a typical asset purchase, the buyer acquires the seller's assets but not its liabilities.This case turned on two exceptions to the rule that with an asset purchase the buyer typically does not take on the seller's liabilities - the first of which arises when the acquisition of assets amounts to a de facto merger and the second of which arises when the buyer is a mere continuation for all of the seller's liabilities. At issue was whether New Nello Operating Company was liable for Nello Corporation's debt to CompressAir. The trial court concluded that the strict foreclosure between Old Nello and New Nello was fraudulent, amounted to a de facto merger, and that New Nello was a mere continuation of Old Nello. The court then entered judgment against New Nello. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that continuity of ownership is necessary for the de-facto-merger and mere-continuation exceptions to apply. View "New Nello Operating Co., Inc. v. CompressAir" on Justia Law
Hartman v. BigInch Fabricators & Construction Holding Co.
In this challenge to an appraiser's valuation of corporate shares, the Supreme Court held that the shareholder agreement's valuation term clearly contemplated a fair market valuation of the selling shareholder's shares.Plaintiff, who held a minority portion of the shares of BigInch Fabricators & Construction Holding Company, Inc., a closely held corporation, was terminated without cause. Applying a fair market value standard, an appraiser hired by BigInch discounted Plaintiff's shares for their lack of marketability and Plaintiff's lack of control. Plaintiff brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the discounts were inapplicable because the shareholder agreement did not contemplate a fair market value standard. The trial court granted summary judgment for BigInch. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the plain language of the shareholder agreement called for BigInch to pay Plaintiff the fair market value of his shares, and so a third-party appraiser could apply minority and marketability discounts. View "Hartman v. BigInch Fabricators & Construction Holding Co." on Justia Law
KS&E Sports v. Runnels
Police officer Dwayne Runnels suffered serious injuries after he was shot by Demetrious Martin. Martin, a convicted felon who could not legally purchase or possess a firearm, received the firearm by Tarus Blackburn, who made a “straw purchase” for the firearm from KS&E Sports. Runnels filed a complaint against KS&E; Blackburn; and Edward Ellis, a KS&E officer, director, and shareholder. KS&E and Ellis moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that Ind. Code 34-12-3-3(2) granted them immunity. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Runnel’s negligence, piercing-the-corporate-veil, and civil-conspiracy claims, which demand only money damages, must be dismissed because section 34-12-3-3(2) functions as a limited immunity statute that insulates KS&E from suits for “recovery of damages resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm…by a third party”; (2) the statute does not immunize KS&E from Runnel’s public-nuisance claim seeking equitable relief; and (3) the statute is not preempted by federal law and does not violate either the state or federal Constitution. View "KS&E Sports v. Runnels" on Justia Law
Andy Mohr West v. Ind. Secretary of State, Auto Dealer Services Div.
In an effort to benefit from a growing customer base in Hamilton County, Ed Martin Toyota requested, and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. planned to approve, that Ed Martin relocate from its Anderson, Madison County location, where it operated for several years, to the Fishers area. Prior to the move, Toyota informed its other new motor vehicle dealerships in the region, including Andy Mohr Toyota, Butler Toyota, and Tom Wood Toyota (“Dealers”), and it filed the relocation plan with the Auto Dealer Services Division of the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State (“Division”). Those three dealerships protested the relocation. The Auto Dealer Services Division dismissed their action for lack of standing—affirmed by the trial court, concluding the dealerships were outside the “relevant market area,” as defined by the Indiana Dealer Services Act. Finding that the Division's interpretation of that statutory definition was reasonable, the Supreme Court affirmed the Division's decision. View "Andy Mohr West v. Ind. Secretary of State, Auto Dealer Services Div." on Justia Law