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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. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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  4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

  5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.

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