Andrew J Thompson
Andrew J Thompson was admitted to practice law in Indiana in 1990. Mr. Thompson has experience in business law, estate planning, creditor and debtor law, real estate, civil trials, taxation, criminal defense, appeals and all areas of family law, including adoptions, divorce, child custody and support, paternity, and guardianship.
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Indiana University in 1984, Mr. Thompson passed the Uniform Certified Public Accounting examination and worked as an International Tax Specialist with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Company before returning to school to pursue his law degree.
Mr. Thompson graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1990 before passing the Indiana State Bar exam later that year.
Along with practicing law, Mr. Thompson has worked as a Private Family Wealth Advisor and as Southeast Regional Director of Legal, Estate and Asset Services for the American Cancer Society and the Executive Director of the American Foundation for Clinical Pharmacology. He founded a private consulting firm, Elusen LLC, providing fundraising, search marketing and other services primarily for nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest and southeastern United States, as well as capital acquisition services for emerging businesses.
He taught as an adjunct professor of Business Law for Indiana Wesleyan University from 1992 to 1995. Mr. Thompson has served as a volunteer board member for Big Brothers-Big Sisters and the Entrepreneurial Development Council of the RTP, and he presently serves on the Board of the Autism Society of Indiana and the Small Enterprise Loan Fund program for emerging businesses in Hamilton County, IN.
Mr. Thompson is committed to provide every client with the highest quality of legal service to help them achieve their primary goals.
- Indiana State Bar Association
- Born in Terre Haute, Indiana
Under Indiana law, an employer or contractor hiring labor or sales representatives has a strong responsibility to make sure their agents and employees are paid what they are owed and paid timely. If the employer comes up short in making payment, it can be very costly, including a multiple of the amount of the unpaid wages or commissions, plus attorney fees and other costs.
With respect to employees: Every such person, firm, corporation, limited liability company, or association who shall fail to make payment of wages to any such employee as provided in section 1 of this chapter shall, as liquidated damages for such failure, pay to such employee for each day that the amount due to him remains unpaid ten percent (10%) of the amount due to him in addition thereto, not exceeding double the amount of wages due, and said damages may be recovered in any court having jurisdiction of a suit to recover the amount due to such employee, and in any suit so brought to recover said wages or the liquidated damages for nonpayment thereof, or both, the court shall tax and
If your family has been in the farming business for many years, you know the “simple life” on the farm can produce many complexities in the families’ finances that don’t present themselves to the rest of the population. The phrase “land rich and cash poor” is widely used in reference to family farms where land values may have appreciated significantly over the years but liquidity within the family balance sheet is disproportionately low when compared to virtually any other kind of business.Because farmers that manage their businesses for a generation or more have learned to manage cash flow in a manner that enables them to keep their business and personal interests ongoing in a functional way, the disparity between total assets available and cash on hand doesn’t produce a crisis for most farm families until a major “liquidity event” arises, i.e. the death or disability of the family patriarch or farm manager, the sale of all or part of farm property, or a conversion of the business interest in the property to a use that generates immediate cash. Another major event, but that does not necessarily generate liquidity for the family, is the split of the interest in the farming business – usually between siblings. It is not unusual in the farming business for the male children to continue to operate the family farm professionally, while the female children pursue raising a family or off-farm careers. But it is also very common for one sibling to take charge of the farming operations after Dad is no longer involved, and to buy or actually squeeze out the other brothers or siblings without first determining the actual market value that reflects the true economic benefit conferred upon the continuing owner-operator in the business. Quite often an LLC or corporation was set up at some point in time with family members granted units or shares in the business, but with the operating sibling holding a controlling interest, either through actual equity in the entity, through voting rights, or just in a controlling position by proxy from other stakeholders in the operating business entity. At some point, interests get divided further – and in a farming business, that point is usually when one owner dies or becomes incapacitated. When that occurs, his or her descendants then want to pursue their equity shares in the business, but that may be challenging. If another sibling holds a controlling interest in the business responsible for the farm operations and/or the real estate that is farmed, he may make any vote or opportunity to liquidate a share of the family’s interest difficult or virtually impossible to accomplish. If you hold the controlling interest, this is very much to your advantage. But to all of the other siblings and beneficiaries of the family business, it may be very disenfranchising. The best way to deal with something like this is to address it on the front end, i.e. when the business entity is first established. At that point in time, buy-sell and other liquidation event provisions can be drafted in a way that will be fair to all parties when the time comes. The key in drafting such provisions is to make sure that on the one hand, no heir is left in a position where he or she won’t be able to access what is rightfully his or hers, and on the other hand, that no impediments are created to the continuing operation of the farming business. Given the nature of farming, however, it is very unlikely that the continuing operations will be jeopardized by protecting the rights of sibling-heirs and other beneficiaries. But the rights of the non-operating heirs can slip away over time if safeguards are not built in to the original framework of the succession plans and operating agreements of the farming business and its governing organizational documents. Even if the protections are not put into place at the outset, there are always ways to protect the same interests of heirs further down the road. For example, if no operating entity is created, there is no Will or Trust in place and no other governing, operating document, legally, all heirs will maintain their stake in the ultimate distribution of an estate. This may or may not be equitable, however, in the case of an heir who operates and profits from the business of the farm, if entirely equal distributions to siblings is the result upon the death of the founding farm operator, will generally protect those other siblings as their parents would have intended, even without a Will or a Trust. That statement, however, begs the essential question – what actually is the intent of the senior generation with respect to their own children, i.e. their intended heirs. There are a few common approaches to the issue: 1. Complete Equality in Distributions – all income and asset distributions are shared equally by all heirs 2. Equal Distributions Adjusted for Income to Child-Farmer a. Child-Farmer Keeps Beneficial Income from Farming (Profits Reaped Approach) b. Reallocate Asset distribution as an Offset to Farm Income (Talents Distribution Approach) 3. Greater Distribution for Child-Farmer(s) (Sweat Equity Approach) 4. Unique Allocations Approach – parents allocate income and assets to children based on their unique lie positions and their relationship with the parents. Regardless which approach is employed, a sound valuation of the farm assets (both real property and operational assets) is vital to an efficient and effective transition when the time comes for the property to be distributed among the next generation. Painful litigation or tedious issues often arise at the time of this transition if comprehensive planning has not been accomplished beforehand. If you need assistance with planning or addressing issues related to a family farm and its succession to the next family generation, please contact the Thompson Law Office at …
In the rules of interpretation of written contracts, there are generally two schools of thought. One is to consider only the terms of the written document itself, the other is to consider outside evidence (“extrinsic evidence”) in interpreting the contract. The former approach presents a challenge in language interpretation, the latter approach presents a myriad of challenges, mostly surrounding the question of what additional evidence is appropriate to consider.
In law school, I was taught the first rule was consider the “New York rule” and was followed by most states, and the latter was the “California rule” followed by a few states, but adopted in some part my about one-half of the states in the US. The California rule, frankly, follows a line of interpretation that a number of US Supreme Court Justices have utilized, that views a written document like the US Constitution as a “living document” to be re-interpreted to fit changing notions of cultural norms, rather than by the words that were adopted themselves, OR alternatively, to look at “pre-numbras”, i.e. pre-existing legal concepts, or even what I would call “post-numbras”, that is alternative views on the law that have been adopted in other countries, or by commentators on the law – without regard to the language of the document itself.
Unfortunately, the loose forms of interpretation lead to decisions that are completely detached from the language (and perhaps the intent) of the parties to begin with. Thus, very few judges ultimately take a loose interpretation approach to contract disputes, and this is a good thing for any party entering into a contract – it means that you can count on the words of the document you sign rather than a speculative approach to what the parties meant to do.
It also makes it very important to have a skilled attorney working for you whenever you enter into a contract that has significant potential dollar consequences involved. The difference between a contract negotiated by an attorney on your behalf and what you might sign otherwise can be very costly. First it can cost you in terms of the contract itself, and then it can also cost you in terms of needless litigation you may face over terms you never wanted in the contract, or those that should have been included if handled properly.
Some of the most frequently overlooked terms in a contract are the representations and warranties that will be made by the other party, the remedies for default, and manner of enforcement of the contract. Attorneys with experience dealing with these issues when they wind up in litigation, are best suited to inform you of what you can do to protect yourself on the front end. I often tell people that $1,000-$2,000 in legal advice before signing a contract can save you $25,000-50,000 in litigation costs on the back end – that’s a 2500% return on your investment – not a bad proposition.
When contracts are ultimately breached, however, one party may believe additional terms should have been included in the contract, even though they were not included in the written document. Other times a party may contend that there was an oral “side agreement” that should be considered to be part of the written agreement. An important part of the job of the contract negotiator is to be sure that Interpretation itself, however, is a critical matter for ca client knows what the risks are of leaving things out of an agreement or relying upon conversations about what was intended to be agreed upon.
The words of a contract document have meaning and determine results between parties to the contract. In any agreement that specifies damages (“liquidated damages”) a party receives in the event of a particular loss, the calculation of such damages still must be reasonably defined, and it is often the work of the court to determine what exactly that means.
Likewise, in an employment arrangement of any kind, language regarding covenants not to compete will not be enforceable unless it is restricted to reasonable time and space limitations. If the terms exceed reasonable limits, a court may alter the terms and replace them with terms it believes are reasonable for enforcement and consistent with public policy considerations concerning an employee or contractor’s right to work in the highest and best professional service he can provide.
Many men will face a situation in their lives they would otherwise think incomprehensible. It goes something like this: a phone call is placed to their estranged girlfriend, wife or ex-wife to speak to their child. But there’s no answer, just voicemail – and then, no return call either. A day goes by, then two, then three – thoughts go through his mind, what’s happened?
“Where is my son, my daughter? Are they OK? Is this something their Mom is doing on purpose? Are they hurt??”
It’s a very hopeless feeling and situation that the day before it happened, no one could imagine it ever happening or how it might feel. But it DID happen – so the question becomes, what do you do now?
Your life without total engagement in your children’s life/lives even for a few days or a week, can seem like hell to you – and it can be hell for them. In fact, the likelihood is that it is much WORSE for them than it is for you.
So what’s ahead of you? One would reasonably think that what lies ahead is a sympathetic court system eager to help fathers re-engage in their kids’ lives as quickly as possible. But if that is what you are hoping for, you are likely to be sorely disappointed.
In a study of hundreds of custody cases, involving divorce, post-divorce disputes, and paternity (never married parents), fathers were awarded primary custody of their children less than 15% of the time, and joint physical custody of their children less than 25% of the time. In fact, it is now more likely that a father will receive only restricted or supervised parenting time with his children than he is to be awarded primary physical custody of them.
A few states have moved in the direction of passage of shared parenting laws that require equal parenting time for both parents except where parents agree to a different arrangement or there are specific findings of abuse and neglect. But even where these laws are being passed, it falls on judges to make sure the rules are followed. When a family court judge will not enforce parenting time for fathers, as is fairly common when a mother resists it, children are left without protection for their time with Dad.
Absent the involvement of an experienced expert, Dads faced with a high conflict custody battle are at an extreme disadvantage. Even the assistance of a reasonably skilled attorney is not enough to put you on equal footing with a mother who is in a position to dominate the custody battle based on pre-existing biases in her favor.
But if you have a team on your side, particularly including a witness with expert credentials, who is qualified to take on the system as it is, you have a reasonable, fighting chance. Short of that, the odds are definitely against you.
So what do you need and what should you look for? First of all, local talent pools are slim, so a national expert is much more in your favor. Second, someone with a background in the law, an attorney, for example, can act in many different roles for you as an expert, such as a Guardian Ad Litem, Facilitative Mediator, or simply as an expert witness on custody law and custody issues. This all assumes the attorney has a background and experience in custody law. Third, someone who can work with your attorney, the court and you, as a part of a cohesive team with a strategy for winning. And fourth, don’t under-budget for your needs. This process and your kids mean far too much to you to sell what you are trying to do for them short. Be prepared to invest what it takes to win.
When you’re faced with serious custody issues and need resources to enable you to be there for your kids as you should, put together a team that will enable you to succeed.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION: it's wise to recognize as early as you can that the battle you're engaged in is likely to continue through your child/children's teen years. Be ready for multi-stage, multi-part lThe first hearing you have is not likely to be your last, but rather the first of many. The more success, however, you have on the front end, the more likely it is you will succeed in the long run.