Indiana Court of Appeals Transfers Celadon Case to Delaware

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a decision against four former Celadon executives sued by TA Dispatch LLC, which must now refile its case in Delaware.

In March 2021, TA Dispatch sued four former Celadon Group executives, including CEO Paul Svindland, after a 2019 deal to buy Celadon assets fell through. Indianapolis-headquartered Celadon filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2019.

Ensley, Alabama-based TA Dispatch’s lawsuit, filed in Marion County, Indiana Superior Court, claimed former Celadon executives were personally liable for the alleged breach of contract. Named in the suit were Svindland; Kathryn Wouters, former Vice President of Finance and Treasurer of Celadon; Chase Welsh, vice president of risk management; and Jon Russell, President and COO.

TA Dispatch is seeking punitive damages to be determined by a jury.

Defendants’ attorneys used a forum selection clause in the 2019 purchase agreement between Celadon and TA Dispatch to try to dismiss the lawsuit or change the venue of the court.

This clause would have stated that the parties had agreed that in any legal dispute regarding the purchase agreement, the matter would be heard in federal or state court in Delaware.

In January, Hamilton County, Indiana, Superior Judge Jonathan Brown denied the defendants’ motion to have the case dismissed or moved to Delaware.

The former Celadon executives then turned to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled on Monday to overturn Brown’s decision and instructed the trial court to grant the motion without prejudice so that TA Dispatch can file the case again in Delaware.

TA Dispatch attorneys did not immediately return FreightWaves’ request for comment.

In 2019, TA Dispatch filed a $6.2 million lawsuit against the carrier six days before Celadon officials announced the company had filed for bankruptcy. This matter was resolved as part of the Celadon Chapter 11 settlement.

This is the second legal victory for the former leaders of the Céladon Group in recent months. In August, federal fraud charges against two executives – Eric Meek and Bobby Peavler – were dismissed by the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Watch: The trial of former Nikola CEO Trevor Milton begins.

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