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State high court to hear Simon defamation suit

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A defamation lawsuit filed by Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and his wife against a Beverly Hills attorney has reached the Indiana Supreme Court.

The state’s high court has agreed to hear oral arguments Oct. 24 in the Simons’ dispute with lawyer Joseph A. Davis following a ruling at the appellate court level that went against the couple.

The lawsuit stems from comments Davis made to Indianapolis television station WTHR-TV Channel 13 regarding a lawsuit filed by a former nanny of the Simons, whom Davis represented.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge in September 2011 tossed the lawsuit filed by the nanny, who claimed the Simons fired her because she became pregnant.

Meanwhile, the Simons had sued in Marion County for defamation based on statements Davis made to WTHR that “the firing is because my client refused to engage in an unlawful, meaning a criminal, act pursuant to our immigration laws. This was all designed to conceal from local and state authorities the existence of this undocumented worker.”

Davis moved to dismiss the Simons’ suit for lack of jurisdiction because he resides in California, but Judge Heather Welch denied the motion in October 2010.

Davis appealed and, in a split decision in February this year, two appellate judges reversed and ruled in his favor.

“Regardless of whether Davis returned the WTHR reporter’s phone call or not, we conclude that this inquiry is immaterial because the record unequivocally demonstrates that it was WTHR who initiated the contact, and Davis did nothing more than simply respond to WTHR’s inquiry it initiated,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

Attorney David Herzog of the Indianapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, who is representing Simon and his former beauty queen wife, Bui, declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision to hear their case.

Should the Supreme Court reverse the Court of Appeals’ decision, the case will return to Marion Superior Court. Judge Welch’s earlier denial of Davis’ motion to dismiss was based solely on jurisdiction and did not address the merits of the case.

Simon helped found Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. According to Forbes, his net worth is $1.6 billion. He and his wife have homes in Malibu and Santa Barbara in California, and in Indiana.
 
 

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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