INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) – An Indianapolis law firm is filing for an interpleader against a retired Indiana attorney, a Florida law firm, a New Albany law firm and a nonprofit public interest group over a conflict regarding distribution of funds.
Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe LLP (FDG&T) filed a complaint for interpleader Feb. 26 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division against Michael A. Mullett, Polk & Associates, Lorch Naville Ward LLC and Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC).
In December 2015, the defendants allegedly agreed FDG&T's Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) should be designated the escrow agent for the purposes of receiving funds from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) related to a settlement agreement.
The funds, which totaled $4,014,644.15, would then be distributed to the defendants and others, the suit states.
On Feb. 2, pursuant to the escrow agreement, FDG&T issued checks drawn on its IOLTA account to the various parties for payments owed and reimbursement of expenses, according to the suit. The agreed-upon disbursements totaled $1,356,968.20, allegedly leaving a balance of $2,657,675.95 in the plaintiff's IOLTA account.
The defendants allegedly dispute the proper allocation of that remaining balance, but FDG&T has not received any instructions on how to allocate the balance.
The escrow agreement expired on March 1, and FDG&T fears it will be exposed to litigation if, for example, one defendant were to demand it make a distribution of the balance remaining on the account.
FDG&T seeks a judgment that will allow it to deposit the remaining balance of the common fund to the clerk of this court, be discharged from any and all liability pertaining to those funds, and enjoin the defendants from any legal action against FDG&T, plus attorney fees and costs of the suit.
The plaintiff is being represented by one of its attorneys, Frederick W. Dennerline III in Indianapolis.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division Case number 1:16-cv-00468-MJD