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Products Liability Cases – Feb. 25

The Indiana Product Liability Act is the exclusive mechanism to evaluate claims of personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by products. The Act’s unique statutory regime selectively borrows concepts from the Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 402A, and the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability, and it rejects strict liability concepts for claims of design and warning defects. The Act also significantly alters prior Indiana common law governing product liability actions. This seminar will explore these features of the Act, and will address opportunities and procedural mechanisms for early resolution of product liability actions, including the narrowing of issues through motion practice, tailored case management orders, and efficient discovery practices designed to control and reduce costs.

Dean T. BarnhardBarnes & Thornburg, Indianapolis
Joseph R. AlbertsDow AgroSciences, Indianapolis
Mathew Scott Winings, Cummins, Inc., Indianapolis


3 CLE – Wednesday, February 25, 2015   1:15 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.

Live In-Person Seminar
– ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis

Live Individual Webcast
– From Your Home or Office Computer

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN


Posted in Highlighted Seminars0 Comments

ICLEF Contributes $2500 to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation

ICLEF is pleased to announce a contribution of $2500 to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation in support of the Neil E. Shook Scholarship Fund.  The Indianapolis Bar Foundation website lists the Neil E. Shook Scholarship as being available to 2nd year Robert H. McKinney School of Law students who exhibit the following characteristics: 1. academic proficiency; 2. interest in creditors’ rights and bankruptcy law; 3. financial need; 4. exceptional leader­ship skills; 5. demonstrated commitment to excellence; 6. proponent of civility in the legal profession.

We are delighted to be able to provide financial support to this important scholarship fund.

Click here if you would like to make a donation to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in News0 Comments

Family Law Case Review 2/25/11

Case: Stephanie L. Cotton v. Charles C. Cotton

Case Summary by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham McHale LLP

HELD: To comply with the Indiana Trial Rules and Due Process, the summons served with a petition for dissolution of marriage must include a clear statement to the Respondent of the risk of default for failure to appear or otherwise respond.


Husband and Wife married in 2002. In March 2009, Husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. Wife was served with a summons and copy of the petition, but she did not appear personally or by counsel, nor did she respond to the petition. Husband continued to live in the marital residence for five months after filing, leading Wife to believe that the parties were working on reconciliation and that Husband was not pushing finalization of the dissolution.

However, in September 2009, Husband and his counsel attended a final hearing. Wife had not appeared personally or by counsel, and she received no notice of the final hearing. In Wife’s absence, and following only Husband’s testimony, the trial court defaulted Wife and entered a final dissolution decree that included an award of joint legal and physical custody of the parties’ son, and divided the marital estate. Wife subsequently learned of the Decree, hired counsel, and filed a T.R. 60 motion to set aside the Decree, which was denied. Wife appealed.

On appeal, Wife contended that the Decree was void because it was entered without personal jurisdiction over her, due to insufficiency of process; specifically, the summons used by Husband included language to Wife that she “may personally appear” and that “[y]ou must appear before the Court if directed to do so pursuant to a Notice, Order of the Court, or Subpoena,” but no language articulating a risk of default for doing nothing. In reviewing the summons, the Court of Appeals summarized the applicable law of insufficiency of process, and concluded: “We hold that due process requires that, at a minimum, a respondent in a dissolution proceeding be notified of the risk of default for failure to appear or otherwise respond.”

In this instance, the subject summons presented Wife with the option of appearing or responding to the petition, but did not provide notice to her that the trial court could take further and final action without further notice to her. The Court of Appeals added, “the command of Trial Rule 4(C)(5), grounded in due process, is that the respondent in a dissolution proceeding must be given notice in a ‘clear statement’ of the risk of default for failure to appear or other respond . . . ” Concluding that the subject summons did not comply with Trial Rule 4(C)(5), or the Due Process Clause, the dissolution decree was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Stephanie L. Cotton v. Charles C. Cotton

Posted in Family Law Case Review0 Comments

Notes on Negotiation: Dealing With Too Much Commitment

Notes on Negotiations
By Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

“I feel so committed to my client that I have a really hard time being objective and analytical in my negotiations on their behalf,” a lawyer told me recently. “I really take things personally. What should I do?”

This issue, which can also impact those negotiating for themselves and is a reason some hire agents to negotiate for them, is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, it’s effective to empathize and deeply understand your clients’ needs and concerns. This level of commitment helps you communicate the depth of your clients’ interests. And your strong personal belief in these interests increases the likelihood your counterparts will accept them as true and sincere.

On the other hand, it can be harmful to the extent it prevents you from objectively analyzing the negotiation and clouds your judgment. It can also make it difficult to truly step into your counterparts’ shoes and fully appreciate their interests.

What should you do?

1: Develop a written strategic plan
While regular readers of my column will recognize this strategy – which I recommend in all significant negotiations – it’s especially crucial here. Why? Because writing down your strategies and tactics, and regularly reviewing them, helps keep you focused and limits the extent that you will get distracted by the depth of your personal feelings.

Assume you and your client evaluate your Plan B (or best alternative to a deal) as investing in a new plant and technology – which your expert estimates will put your client’s company at a value of $25 million. This would be instead of your client’s selling, your Plan A. And you write down your Plan B, a major element of your leverage, as part of your plan.

But you and your client get more and more emotionally committed to a sale the longer the negotiation lasts with a private equity group, to the point that your client seriously considers settling for $20 million. Reviewing your plan with your client would remind you of your leverage and counsel you to recommend that your client wait or push back and ask for more.

2: Take regular breaks
I recently attended a conference for academics in the conflict management field and spoke with an expert in how emotion impacts negotiations. He suggested that taking regular breaks during an in person negotiation – and reassessing your strategies then – is an effective way to address this challenge. I agree.

You might even take a walk during those breaks. A change of scenery and getting your blood flowing can help give you needed perspective.

3: Focus on standards
Finally, focusing on independent standards like a deal’s expected profitability, an expert’s market value assessment, or what your counterpart has included in similar deals (precedent) can ground your feelings and help you be more objective.

Such standards also depersonalize the negotiation environment and give you and your client a principled basis for your moves.

Internationally known social psychologist Robert Cialdini, the bestselling author of Influence: Science and Practice, concisely synthesized this in a recent conversation with me when he advised that you should pay particular attention to these standards and your written plan during your breaks.

Latz’s Lesson: The depth of your personal feelings in a negotiation can help or hurt you – so write down your critical strategies and take regular breaks to review them.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

Marty will be Live In-Person here at the ICLEF Conference Facility, November 13. To learn more about Gain the Edge: Negotiation Strategies for Lawyers or to register, Click Here.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Negotiation/Mediation Blog0 Comments

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