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Indiana appeals court moves Celadon case to Delaware

TA Dispatch suing 4 former execs over failed assets deal

The Court of Appeals of Indiana has reversed a decision against four former Celadon executives being 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 agreement to purchase assets from Celadon fell apart. Indianapolis-headquartered Celadon filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2019. 

Ensley, Alabama-based TA Dispatch’s complaint filed in the Marion County (Indiana) Superior Court claimed that the former Celadon leaders bear personal liability for the alleged breach of contract. Named in the suit were Svindland; Kathryn Wouters, Celadon’s former vice president of finance and treasurer; Chase Welsh, the vice president of risk management; and Jon Russell, president and COO. 

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

Attorneys for the defendants used a forum selection clause in the 2019 purchase agreement between Celadon and TA Dispatch to attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed or have the court venue changed.

That clause reportedly said the parties had agreed that in any legal dispute over the purchase contract, the case would be handled by either a 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 leaders then turned to the Court of Appeals of Indiana, which ruled Monday to reverse Brown’s decision and instructed the trial court to grant the motion without prejudice so that TA Dispatch can refile the case in Delaware.

Attorneys for TA Dispatch did not immediately return a request for comment from FreightWaves.

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

This is the second court victory for former leaders of the Celadon Group in recent months. In August, federal fraud charges against two executives — Eric Meek and Bobby Peavler — were dismissed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Watch: Former Nikola CEO Trevor Milton’s trial gets underway.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact nmahoney@freightwaves.com