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Monday, September 14, 2015

Ind. Courts - Administrative Rule 9 in action in Simon/Pacers case

Mark Alesia reports today on the front-page of the Indianapolis Star:

Pacers owner Herb Simon is asking a court to declare that neither his late brother’s estate nor his brother’s widow has any financial stake in the team.

The Indianapolis Star learned about the request in an unusual way. It came to light because a court document filed by Bren Simon, widow of Melvin Simon, contained visible words that were meant to have been redacted.

Herb Simon is asking the court to keep the documents, filed last month in Hamilton Superior Court, under seal. He argues that public viewing would create “significant risk of substantial harm” to people who signed a confidential settlement in 2012 pertaining to Melvin Simon’s estate. * * *

It’s unclear what prompted the timing of the request. A lawyer for Simon declined comment, and court documents available to the public are heavily redacted. A Pacers spokesman also declined comment.

Parts of court documents not redacted included Herb Simon noting that since 2009 Bren Simon has been in litigation with Melvin Simon’s children regarding his estate. The filing said Herb Simon has “consistently and earnestly” tried to help them resolve the dispute.

“Herb has done so in an effort to uphold the Simon name, to preserve some measure of family harmony, and to facilitate the charitable giving that his brother Melvin intended under his estate plans,” the court document says.

The court has scheduled an Oct. 16 hearing to decide whether the redacted information should remain hidden from public view. Notice of the hearing was sent to The Star and local television stations.

The visible words where redactions were intended showed up in Bren Simon’s request to move the case to federal court in Indianapolis.

It says that Herb Simon wants a legal finding that “Melvin Simon Family Enterprises Trust, Bren Simon, nor any of their successors, assigns, owns or has any right, title, interest, or expectancy in or to Pacers Basketball, LLC.”

Ownership of the Pacers is of significant public interest, for those who have concerns about the team’s long-term commitment to staying in Indianapolis, and for those who oppose the taxpayer support the team receives.

Alan Brown, an attorney for Bren Simon, said he has never seen an initial complaint filed with most of the allegations and facts redacted, as in this case. He declined to discuss the case in more detail.

“If they (the court) say it’s confidential, we can’t walk through that stop sign,” he said. “I just can’t get into the merits of the complaint in any way. I really can’t.”

ILB: The CCS# is 29D03-0910-ES-000141.

Details about the implementation of Administrative Rule 9 are available in this 32-page document, prepared for attorney continuing legal education by Maggie L. Smith, Frost Brown Todd LLC.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 14, 2015 09:57 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts