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Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC - Indiana Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys
Lawyer Blogs | 2015/11/14 16:22
Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC was founded as a firm committed to protecting individuals and small businesses that have been wronged by someone or something not following the basic rules of life and causing harm. From individuals injured by prescription drugs to defamed business owners, Riley Williams & Piatt, LCC stands ready to equalize the odds.

When you buy a homeowners' insurance policy or commercial property policy, you expect the insurance company to be on your side when disaster hits. Unfortunately, too often that is not the case. Unfortunately, in Riley Williams & Piatt’s years of representing individuals and businesses, we've seen first-hand how far insurance companies will go to avoid paying your legitimate claim.

With litigation skills and in-depth knowledge of the insurance industry, the attorneys at Riley Williams & Piatt represent individuals and businesses that have been victimized by bad faith tactics or insurance carriers.

If you have already had to file an insurance claim, chances are you already suffered enough. We work to help individuals and businesses make sure they don't suffer again wrongfully at the hands of their insurance company. Contact Riley Williams & Piatt for more information, or submit a Bad Faith insurance claim.

IMF head Lagarde in court in fraud probe
Lawyer Blogs | 2013/05/20 18:45
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is facing questions at a special Paris court Thursday over her role in the 400 million euro ($520 million) pay-off to a controversial businessman when she was France's finance minister.

The court hearing threatens to sully the reputations of both Lagarde and France. The payment was made to well-connected entrepreneur Bernard Tapie as part of a private arbitration process to settle a dispute with state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over the botched sale of Adidas in the 1990s. It is seen by many in France as an example of the cozy relationship between big money and big power in France.

Lagarde has earned praise for her negotiating skills as managing director of the IMF through Europe's debt crisis and is seen as a trailblazer for women leaders. Her decision to let the Adidas dispute go to private arbitration rather than be settled in the courts has drawn criticism, and French lawmakers asked magistrates to investigate.

Lagarde, smiling at reporters, left her Paris apartment Thursday morning and appeared at a special court that handles cases involving government ministers. She has denied wrongdoing.

At the time of the payment, Tapie was close to then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was Lagarde's boss. Critics have said the deal was too generous to Tapie at the expense of the French state, and that the case shouldn't have gone to a private arbitration authority because it involved a state-owned bank.

Monster iPhone location lawsuit filed against Apple
Lawyer Blogs | 2011/08/16 16:31
More than 20,000 South Korean iPhone users have filed a class action lawsuit against US technology giant Apple for alleged privacy violations over the collection of location data, a law firm said.

The suit came after lawyer Kim Hyung-Suk was awarded one million won (US $950) in compensation in June, the first such payout by Apple's Korean unit, following an interim order by a court in the southeastern city of Changwon.

Kim has since led online preparations for a class action suit against Apple and its South Korean unit.

"The suit accuses Apple of breaching articles 10 and 17 of the constitution that ensure pursuit of happiness and protection of privacy, and the South Korean law on protection of location data," a spokesman for Kim's firm Miraelaw said. The suit involves 26,691 people demanding one million won each.

Indiana Court of Appeals Disagrees Over Effect of Admissions
Lawyer Blogs | 2011/07/26 16:02
Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a memorandum decision, uncitable as authority under App. R. 65(D), in which the Court disagreed over the extent to which admissions could be used against a party in a motion for summary judgment in Clark v. Clark, Cause No. 01A02-1007-CT-759. While the decision itself cannot be used as precedent, the disagreement is informative.

In this case, a father and son traveled in a car together to the home of another person. When they arrived, the son got out of the car to help the father parallel park. The son positioned himself in front of his father's vehicle, between it and another vehicle parked in the alley. When the father's vehicle was in the appropriate position, the son signaled for the father to stop by putting his hand up. The father hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, and the son was pinned between his father's vehicle and the parked vehicle. The son sustained serious injuries to his leg. He brought suit against his father for his injuries and the father asserted the Indiana Guest Statute as an affirmative defense.

The Indiana Guest Statute provides that people with certain types of relationships, such as father-son, cannot sue each other for injuries arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle if the person is "in or upon" the vehicle at the time of the injuries. During the course of the litigation, the son sent requests for admissions to the father. Two of those requests and responses are reproduced below.

19. On September 5, 2007, at the time of the collision, Robert L. Clark, Jr. was not in the Chevrolet.

RESPONSE: At the moment of impact the plaintiff was not in the Chevrolet, whether he was a pedestrian is genuine issue for trial and therefore denied.

20. On September 5, 2007, at the time of the collision, Robert L. Clark, Jr. was not upon the Chevrolet.

RESPONSE: At the moment of impact the plaintiff was not upon the Chevrolet, whether he was a pedestrian is genuine issue for trial and therefore denied.

Based on those responses, the son moved for summary judgment. The father filed a cross-motion and the trial court granted the father's motion.

On appeal, the father argued that the admissions were not dispositive of whether the son was in or upon the vehicle at the time of his injuries because that is a legal conclusion that the Court would have to make after applying the law to the facts. The Court disagreed, holding that admissions can be directed to legal conclusions, not merely facts.

The dissent found the admissions ambiguous, because of the qualification about whether the son was a pedestrian and because there were questions concerning whether "in" and "upon" have the same generic meaning as they do as a legal term of art.

The lesson here is that requests for admissions can be powerful litigation tools and we lawyers must be careful when responding to them. You may find out that you have admitted something inadvertently.


1.Even a qualified response to a request for admission can count as an admission.

Brad A. Catlin
Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC

When is a Person an Employee of Another?
Lawyer Blogs | 2011/07/19 16:20
On July 19, 2011, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a decision which I found surprising in McCann v. City of Anderson, ___ N.E.2d ___ (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), Cause No. 48A02-1009-PL-1060. At issue was whether a trial court had properly granted summary judgment on the question of whether a warrant officer was an employee of the Anderson City Court. Despite the procedural posture of the case and factors that weighed in favor of finding an employer-employee relationship, the Court affirmed a decision granting summary judgment to the defendants.

In this case, McCann was a police officer, who eventually became warrant officer for the Anderson City Court in 1998. He held that post until 2005, when the judge asked that McCann be reassigned. As a result of this dismissal, McCann filed suit based on the Indiana Wage Statute, arguing that he had been an employee of the Court and was entitled to funds that had been allocated to the position of warrant officer by that court. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and the trial court granted the defendants' motion.

On appeal, the Court quoted GKN Co. v. Magness, 744 N.E.2d 397, 402 (Ind. 2001), for the seven factors that a court should consider when determining whether an employer-employee relationship exists. The Court then analyzed each of these factors and determined that three weighed in favor of the existence an employer-employee relationship and four against, with the "most important" factor weighing against.

Thus, over all, four of the seven factors, including the most important, "Control over the Means Used," indicate McCann was not an employee of the City Court. Because the City Court was not McCann's employer, he cannot be due any "unpaid wages" from the City Court. Therefore, he cannot assert a claim against the City Court under the Indiana Wage Statute.

The aspect of this decision that is most surprising is that the Court reached this conclusion despite the procedural posture of the case. It could have easily held that, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to McCann, the seven factors weighed both for and against a finding of an employer-employee relationship between McCann and the City Court created a genuine issue of material fact. This indicates that the factor the Court identified as being "most important", whether the purported employer exercised control over the means used by the purported employee to perform work, is very important indeed.


1.It will be exceedingly difficult to prove the existence of an employer-employee relationship if the purported employer did not exercise control over the means that the purported employee used to perform his work.

Brad A. Catlin
Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC

Court Shows It Is Serious About Appellate Procedure
Lawyer Blogs | 2011/06/11 06:53
On June 8, 2011, the Indiana Court of Appeals demonstrated it is serious about enforcing the Rules of Appellate Procedure in Garrard v. Teibel, Cause No. 45A04-1003-PL-229, a memorandum decision, uncitable as authority under App. R. 65(D). In this case, a pro se appellant failed to include any statement of the case after 2007 (although summary judgment proceedings occurred in 2009) and failed to include any of the designated evidence from the summary judgment proceedings in his appendix. The Court found that the pro se appellant had waived all arguments on appeal and affirmed the trial court's order.


1.Although the Court cuts people a lot of slack in the form and content of their brief, its generosity has bounds.

Brad A. Catlin
Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC

No Second Chances for Faulty IRA Trusts
Lawyer Blogs | 2010/09/07 14:17
Postmortem wealth transfers to IRA beneficiaries continues to present estate planning challenges.  Although perhaps not the final word on the matter, the IRS now prevents postmortem trust reformation designed to allow trustees to treat them as designated beneficiary trusts.  The relevant ruling is PLR 201021038.

The broadness of the limited power of appointment was perhaps the most critical flaw in the subject trust.  It was too broad to be able to determine the correct measuring life.  There were other flaws as well, most notably the trust’s naming of charities as potential beneficiaries.

The tax consequences of this ruling are devastating to any similarly-flawed trust:  Beneficiaries cannot stretch out required withdrawals over the lifespan of the oldest beneficiary but would presumably have to withdraw all money from the plan within just a few years.

Unless a tax court modifies this ruling – and until it does – the bar is very high indeed for those who draft trusts for the purpose of receiving postmortem IRA distributions.  In short, get it right the first time!  I would read and reread
section 401(a)(9) to ensure the trust conforms to the section’s standards precisely.  Going forward, you may also wish to give grantors an opportunity to review the terms of their trusts to ensure they conform with the changing law on this subject.  A brief look every three-to-five years is appropriate, although factors like ill health

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