Yet Another Indiana Coach Arrested For Filming Young Athletes

While it is yet to be determined whether Mr. Camden is a member of United States Swimming we do know that sexual exploitation of young children is very much a problem at InterActive Academy in Zionsville. Saeed and Little,LLP has litigated to completion filming cases concerning swim coaches and coaches in other sports. we filed the first USOC /NGB sex abuse case in 2008 and we would be happy to speak with you or your family if you have any concerns about coach sexual abuse.

 

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2017/03/28/zionsville-swim-instructor-faces-voyeurism-exploitation-charges/99749146/

Three Saeed and Little Attorneys named as Rising Stars of the 2017 Indiana Super Lawyers

Three Saeed and Little Attorneys were named as Rising Stars of the 2017 Indiana Super Lawyers!
Syed Ali Syed was named for his work in Class Action/Mass Torts, and Consumer Law.
Jonathan Little was named for his work in the area of Criminal Defense.
David Miller was named for his work in Personal Injury Law.
Congratulations to these three Super Lawyers!

Loser Pays: Anti-American

Idaho will become the first state to require that the losing side in a law suit pays the prevailing sides attorney fees. http://media.spokesman.com/documents/2016/12/HofferVShappard.pdf
A major difference between the American legal system and the other common law systems in the world (England, Canada, Australia to name a few) is that in America each side pays their own fees. Big business scored a big win in Iowa and will use this ruling to intimidate would be adversaries.

Issues with Indiana public defense system

Yesterday the Sixth Amendment Center in Boston, released a study (http://sixthamendment.org/indiana-report/) confirming what all Indiana criminal defense lawyers have known for years- that Indiana has no meaningful system of public defense. For years Indiana Courts have consciously ignored the inadequate and shamefully conflicted system of public defense currently in place in most Indiana Counties. (http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/10/24/indianas-public-defender-system-flawed-study-says/92691546/)

Indiana’s lack of interest in the plight of poor defendants has resulted in a system where sentences for the same offenses vary widely from counties with real public defenders (Marion, Lake, and Monroe for example) to counties were Defendants have no access to counsel (Hancock) or only have access to conflicted, overworked, and inadequate counsel (Johnson).
Last year Saeed and Little, LLP sued Johnson County for failing to provide adequate public defense, the Sixth Amendment Center’s report validates the concerns raised in our lawsuit. It is our hope that lawyers around the State will take our lawsuit and the Sixth Amendment report and use them as a template and please seek justice for poor defendants in all parts of Indiana.

There is a lack of jury trials in the American Court System

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/nyregion/jury-trials-vanish-and-justice-is-served-behind-closed-doors.html?smid=pl-share&_r=0

This is a great piece in the NY Times today about the lack of jury trials in the American court system. Things are even worse in Indiana, where our Supreme Court justices have warned of lack of jury trials for years. (http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/jury-verdicts-rare-in-indiana-courtrooms/article_d7ad0226-25d1-5acb-adda-b8e4ed4aaed6.html) The NY Times cites Federal mandatory minimums – which are really a form of trial tax  – as a major contributor to the lack of jury trials. For criminal cases, that is completely accurate; in civil cases, I attribute the lack of jury trials to:

1. Cost – civil juries with experts cost at least $30,000. With caps on damages and fees, it is often difficult for the Plaintiff’s lawyer to get his or her money back.

2. In States like Indiana where the law is so favorable to the insurance industry, most cases – well over 90% – are dismissed on summary judgment or because of a 12(b)(6) motion.

At Saeed and Little, we try cases, a lot of cases, as many as anyone else in Indiana. This year we have tried two cases to verdict (one trial lasted over a month) and have at least two more cases going to trial this year.

Debtor’s Prison

The United States Department of Justice is recommending that state courts not jail people for failing to pay fines (http://www.wthr.com/story/31460931/justice-dept-states-shouldnt-jail-over-fine-nonpayment); sadly jailing people for failing to pay fines, court costs, probation fees, etc. is common practice in Indiana.

It is even scarier when a state’s criminal “justice” system becomes a collection apparatus for corporations. In Indiana where most state services have been privatized including, prisons, jails,  pre-trial GPS monitoring and community corrections, we actually allow citizens to be jailed for failing to pay private corporations.
If you or your loved one has been jailed for failing to pay probation, court costs, etc. in Indiana or anywhere else please contact us.

Mortgage Servicing Violations and Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act

The Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act can be used for Mortgage Servicing Violations. While the statute specifically excludes “consumer transactions involving real property”, mortgage servicing likely does not fall within the definition of a “consumer transaction involving real property” pursuant to Indiana Law. In McKinney v. State that Indiana Supreme Court held that construction contracts were not consumer transactions involving real property. Id. The court stated:

“We assume that the sale of an existing structure will normally be a transaction in real property under the Act. In this case, however, the buyers selected a model home to be built on a plot of land which they also chose and purchased. Judging from the affidavits, there was a separate “Building Contract” that did not involve the sale of land. The “Building Contract” was not for an existing structure and, for purposes of the Act, was therefore not exclusively a contract for real property. As far as can be determined from the record, each contract involved the assembly of a house and the provision of services to maintain the house. The contract explicitly says that “the Contractor agrees to construct for the Buyers a home.” Unlike the sale of an existing structure, which a consumer is at liberty to inspect for defects, the promise to build a structure forces consumers to rely on a variety of representations that the builder is far more capable of evaluating. Section 1(a) of the Act provides: “This chapter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its purposes and policies.” Consistent with this directive, we hold that the construction contract at issue in this case was not a “transaction in real property” under the Act. Accordingly, the State may seek relief for both incurable and other deceptive acts of McKinney.”

Based on the rationale used by the Indiana Supreme court it can be argued that a mortgage agreement/promissory note is similar to a construction contract. Both contracts are ancillary to, yet separate from the purchase agreement executed by the seller and the buyer. Just like the construction agreement contracts to build a structure and is not merely vehicle to document the sale of real property, a mortgage agreement also only documents the financing of the real estate purchase and not the purchase itself.

Saeed and Little Attorney Jessica Wegg presents oral arguments to the Indiana Court of Appeals

On March 15, 2016, Saeed & Little LLP, argued that the State of Indiana storing blood taken at birth from every person born in Indiana since 1991 was an unconstitutional search and a trespass. The State of Indiana, responded in summary that we as Hoosiers should just trust the State with our DNA. A decision is expected sometime in 2016.
Watch a video of the argument here: http://mycourts.in.gov/arguments/default.aspx?id=1916&view=detail

Data breaches are the new hard drive crashes for businesses

Ten years ago, when I spoke with businesses about their IT strategies, one of the major gaps I would find was in data backup coverage – especially with small and medium-sized businesses. Entrepreneurs can be notorious optimists, and many just thought “it will never happen to me.” There are all-too-many stories of businesses suffering severe financial harm and crushing stress while trying to recover from a crashed hard drive that was not backed up.

These days, even most small business have accepted the need to commit to some type of backup strategy, with varying levels of thoroughness. However, a new IT threat lurks for businesses of all sizes: the data breach. Data breach risks fall into two main categories: 1) breaches that cause your business economic harm by compromising your important business secrets or result in a direct loss of funds, or 2) breaches that compromise the PII (Personally Identifiable Information), PHI (Protected Health Information), or any other private data concerning your customers. It is common for a business who has suffered a data breach to face risks from both categories. It is a given that businesses who suffer a data breach are open to potential legal bills for defending against class action suits brought on behalf of customers.

Just as ten years ago, after a hard drive crash, a business would suddenly realize the need to be proactive rather then reactive concerning a backup strategy, businesses today are realizing the need to be proactive concerning data breach risks. Obviously, a first step is to harden security protocols to prevent a breach.

However, as long as humans still work in businesses and have access to data, data will be breached. Recent well known hacks of Target, Anthem, and EBay have shown that even corporations with multi-million dollar IT budgets can be compromised. Steps beyond mere prevention must be taken.

Prudent organizations have a data breach strategy already in place, because it’s always easier to plan before a crisis occurs. If a breach event takes place, management already has existing relationships with lawyers, PR professionals, and forensic IT consultants to mitigate the risks to the company. Research shows that having a data breach plan in place substantially reduces the bottom-line cost of the breach to the company.

If you’d like more information on how to develop a comprehensive data breach protection plan for your business, please reach out and we would be happy to have a conversation with you.

Are you having problems with escrow refunds and payoff balances?

Refinancing your existing mortgage can often render unwanted and unexpected results. In our experience many Mortgage Companies commit errors when calculating pay off balances, settlement charges or when issuing escrow refunds. Consumers have to be especially vigilant to ensure that the refinancing does not result in accounting inaccuracies and charges are not duplicated. When refinancing your home loan, Mortgage companies will have to compute and add two figures: (1) the pay off amount; and (2) the total settlement charges. The following are things to look out for when going through a refinance:

  1. The pay-off amount is typically calculated by first adding the principal balance, interest owed and other fees and then subtracting from this total any escrow balance. If the escrow balance is not subtracted from the pay-off calculation you are entitled to an escrow refund.
  2. Make sure to verify that you are not being charged the interest owed twice. Mortgage companies in some instances will use interest payment to calculate both the payoff amount and the settlement charges. In such instances Mortgage Companies are subject to federal and state legal claims.
  3. Consumers also have a right to demand an explanation of the pay-off amount. A Mortgage Companies’ failure to respond to such a demand will result in violation of federal law.
  4. Mortgage companies can also at times force you to take a cash pay off by not revealing the pay off until closing. You may be able to identify a cash payoff by reviewing the HUD Statement provided to you at closing.
  5. Make sure to carefully review your HUD Statement and have a complete understanding of all settlement charges listed in this document. The HUD Statement can be the single most important closing document which warrants your close attention.
  6. Find out when your next payment is due and verify this information by reviewing your Promissory Note and the Amoritization Schedules. If you have setup an automatic withdrawal make sure to cancel the automatic withdrawal before the next payment. You cannot rely on the Mortgage Company to not withdraw the payment.
  7. Ask for a copy of your closing documents before the closing date. It is very common for people to identify issues on the date of closing when the pressure is high and you are most amenable to  compromising.

If you feel like you were treated unfairly by your Mortgage Company during the origination process please contact our offices for a free consultation.