Successful Appellate Outcomes for Our Clients

Trusts and Estates

In re Stephen L. Chapman Irrevocable Trust Agreement, 953 N.E.2d 573 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011) involved a marriage dissolution proceeding between a trust beneficiary and his wife. While the divorce case was pending, the trustees filed a petition to modify the date of distribution of the trust assets to the husband. The trial court granted the petition. The wife, represented by David Bailey, Partner at Fletcher Van Gilder, and two other attorneys, successfully appealed. The Court of Appeals decided that the dissolution of the beneficiary’s marriage at the time of distribution of the trust assets was not unforeseen or not anticipated, and thus the trustees were not entitled to reformation of trust.

Lender Liability

American Heritage Banco, Inc. v. Cranston, 928 N.E.2d 239 (Ind.Ct.App. 2010). In this appeal, Dan McNamara, Partner at Fletcher Van Gilder, represented a former bank. The case was a mortgage foreclosure in which the mortgagors counterclaimed for constructive fraud, and won. On appeal, the court held that substantial evidence did not support finding that the bank, through its majority shareholder, had a special relationship with the borrower, and that even if a duty had been owed and breached, the bank did not ratify shareholder’s allegedly fraudulent conduct.

Securities/Investor Litigation

Lean v. Reed, 876 N.E.2d 1104, Blue Sky L. Rep. P 74, 674 (Ind. 2007). David Bailey, Partner at Fletcher Van Gilder, represented the purchasers of stock in a corporation. The purchasers sued the corporation and its directors under the Indiana Securities Act, alleging that the defendants had sold unregistered securities and failed to make material disclosures. The trial court granted partial summary judgment to the purchasers as to their claims against an outside director, and the director appealed. The Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court both ruled in favor of the purchasers, holding that the outside director did not establish an affirmative defense to liability under the Securities Act and was liable to the purchasers.

Governmental Immunity – Amicus Representation

Davis v. Animal Control—City of Evansville, 948 N.E.2d 1161 (Ind. 2011). In this case, a man sued the City of Evansville for injuries he sustained when he was attacked by dog in his neighborhood. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed. Tim Manges, Partner at Fletcher Van Gilder,  and Jim Fenton, Of Counsel, wrote a brief on behalf of Amici Curiae Indiana Association of Cities & Towns and Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association, in support of the City. The holding of the case was that the city and its animal control department were entitled to law enforcement immunity under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

Police Benefits

Fort Wayne Patrolmen’s Benev. Ass’n, Inc. v. City of Fort Wayne, 903 N.E.2d 493 (Ind.Ct.App. 2009). Kate Brogan, Of Counsel, represented the City of Fort Wayne in this suit filed by a police officer and police union seeking damages and a declaratory judgment that the city was liable for injuries sustained by the officer while off-duty. The officer was involved in an accident while driving a city-owned vehicle pursuant to a city policy that allowed officers to drive their police vehicles for personal use while off-duty. The trial court granted summary judgment for the city. The issue in the case was whether the officer had been injured “while performing a duty” for the purposes of a statute that required the city to pay for the care of a police officer who suffers an injury while performing the person’s duty. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court in favor of the City of Fort Wayne.

Title VII

Bryant v. Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Com’n, 284 Fed.Appx. 335 (7th Cir. 2008). Kate Brogan, Of Counsel, won summary judgment for the City of Fort Wayne in this case brought by a former employee alleging discrimination based on sex and retaliation in violation of Title VII, and defamation. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking employee’s tardy responses to the city’s requests for admission.