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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ind. Decisions - Two more Supreme Court opinions today

In Linda Keesling, Harold Lephart, et al v. Frederick Beegle, III, John Bucholtz, et al, an 11-page, 3-2 opinion, Justice Sullivan writes:

Both Congress and the Indiana General Assembly have passed statutes called “RICO Acts” to combat “racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations.” There is a conflict between opinions of the Court of Appeals as to whether liability under the Indiana RICO Act extends only to persons who direct racketeering activity (the rule under the Federal RICO Act) or extends below the managerial or supervisory level to a racketeering enterprise’s “foot soldiers” as well. Because the Indiana Act uses language significantly broader than that of the Federal Act, we conclude that it imposes RICO liability both on persons at and below a racketeering enterprise’s managerial or supervisory level. * * *

Conclusion We vacate the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants Baugher, Florida Underwriting, and Jones with respect to the plaintiffs’ Indiana RICO Act allegations. In all other respects, we summarily affirm the opinion of the Court of Appeals. We remand to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion and that of the Court of Appeals.

Shepard, C.J., and Boehm, J., concur.
Dickson, J., dissents with separate opinion in which Rucker, J., concurs. [The dissent begins] The Court today construes Indiana’s RICO Act to impose liability beyond those who substantially participate in the enterprise, to persons below the managerial or supervisory level, based upon linguistic variation between the Federal RICO statute and the Indiana Act. I disagree, finding the modest language differences to be insignificant and inconclusive.

In In the Matter of Daniel Cueller, an attorney disciplinary matter, the Court issues a unanimous Per Curiam opinion that begins:
This matter is before the Court on the report of the hearing officer appointed by this Court to hear evidence on the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission's "Verified Complaint for Disciplinary Action," and on the post-hearing briefing by the parties. We find that Respondent, Daniel Cueller, engaged in attorney misconduct by failing to hold property of clients properly in trust, failing to maintain a ledger with separate records for each client with funds deposited in a trust account, and knowingly making false statements of material fact to the Disciplinary Commission in connection with this disciplinary matter.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 27, 2008 04:23 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions