Married couple was physically separated in June, 2006. The husband then won $2,000,000 in the lottery in January, 2011 and coincidentally decided that a final divorce decree was long overdue. Trial Court found that wife was entitled to only 2.5%
Of note was that wife sent requests for admissions that husband did not answer. By these admissions, husband admitted that a 70/30 split to the wife was a just and equitable distribution. The Court of Appeals agreed, affirming that requests for admissions may be used to establish legal conclusions, but stated that husband only admitted that it was “a” just and equitable distribution and not “the only” such distribution. The trial court was still obligated to decide of the distribution was fair and reasonable. See Ind. Code § 31-15-7-5. In so holding, the Court noted: Discretion signifies choice, and a decision-maker exercising discretion has the ability to choose from a range of permissible conclusions. Johnson v. U. S., 398 A.2d 354, 361 (D.C. 1979).
This case, originating out of IL ND, involved a shareholder dispute in a Polish business park venture. The crux of the complaint was that the defendants were using foreign accounts as a clearinghouse to hide funds. As you might imagine, numerous violations of court orders ensued. The best (or worst) of these was a protracted request for a hard drive that one defendant finally remembered he had given to his kids to play with two years prior. So clearly the children were to blame for its demise. Further notes of interest were that retired Mag. Nan Nolan was willing to let the defendants off with a proverbial slap on the wrist before plaintiffs took the matter to presiding Judge Elaine Bucklo, who took a decidedly different approach.
Default judgment for $413,000,000 and contempt orders were affirmed and stay of case was denied.
J. Flaum authored the opinion with J. Easterbrook and J. Tinder concurring.