Vess helps people and businesses that have been victimized or harmed by a practice, scam, or event that has also affected hundreds or thousands of other people. This is accomplished through a class action, where one person or a few people step forward to sue on behalf of everyone who has been harmed. A class action is often the most efficient means of suing when a business has a routine practice and a class action allows people who otherwise would not have the time or resources to each sue individually to nonetheless recover for wrongs.
Vess’s class action cases have involved suing payday lenders, banks, corporations, and individuals whose actions have harmed a large group of people in a similar way.
- Class Action
- Appellate Law
Education and Awards
J.D., cum laude, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2006
- Articles Editor, Indiana Law Journal
- Semi-finalist, Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition
B.S., Computer Science, Indiana University, 2003
AWARDS & HONORS
Indiana Super Lawyers Rising Star, Thomson Reuters 2010-2021
Leadership in Law Up & Coming Lawyer– Indiana Lawyer Newspaper 2010
PROFESSIONAL & BAR ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS
Indiana Bar Association
American Association for Justice (AAJ)
JURISDICTIONS ADMITTED TO PRACTICE
- Indiana, 2006
- California, 2011
- United States Supreme Court, 2012
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2013
- United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 2006
- United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 2006
- United States Court of Federal Claims, 2010
- United States District Court, Northern District of California, 2013
- United States District Court, Central District of California, 2013
- United States District Court, District of Colorado, 2014
- United States District Court, Central District of Illinois, 2017
- United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2018
- United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2018
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2018
- United States District Court, Western District of New York, 2018
Featured Cases and Articles
FEATURED CASES AND MATTERS
Dubinski v. Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company, No. 1:14-cv-00551-TWP-DKL (S.D. Ind. 2014)
- Vess was appointed Class Counsel to represent a class of Indiana residents against Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company alleging that Sentry failed to pay auto insurance premium refunds that the company promised to safe drivers under its Payback insurance policies.
Moss v. Indiana Department of Child Services, No. 46D02-1406-PL-1025 (LaPorte Super. Ct. 2014)
- Vess represented families who adopted special needs kids out of the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) foster care system and who alleged that DCS failed to pay them the adoption subsidy it promised to help care for these special needs children. DCS settled for $15.1 million to cover claims of over 1,800 special needs kids whose subsidies were not paid between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014.
Landes v. United Financial Systems Corp., No. 49C01-1103-PL-010470 (Marion Cir. Ct. 2014)
- Vess represented a class of over 1,500 Indiana victims who alleged they were sold inappropriate estate planning documents prepared by a “trust mill” that engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Indiana. Settlement funds were mailed directly to victims.
Raab v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, No. 49D12-1303-PL-008769 (Marion Super. Ct. 2013)
- Vess represented Indiana drivers who had been overcharged by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles for driver’s licenses. The case settled for $30 million in credits and refund checks to over 4 million drivers in amounts equal to the agreed overcharges.
Geneva-Roth Ventures, Inc. v. Edwards, 956 N.E.2d 1195 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), reh’g denied, trans. denied, 969 N.E.2d 87 (Ind. 2012), & cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 650 (2012). And Apex 1 Processing, Inc. v. Edwards, 962 N.E.2d 663 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), trans. denied, 969 N.E.2d 87 (Ind. 2012), & cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 650 (2012).
- Vess represents the plaintiff in two class actions on behalf of Indiana residents who received payday loans from internet lenders. These loans contained interests rates of over 1,000% APR, and the lawsuit alleges that the loans’ interest rates and other provisions violate Indiana’s Small Loans Act and Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. Both of the lenders tried to force the case into individual arbitration so that they would not be held accountable to the many Indiana residents they have allegedly harmed. The trial court, however, accepted Vess’s arguments that the case go forward in court where all of the victims can possibly get relief. The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed, too, in opinions you can read here and here. The lenders then asked the Indiana Supreme Court to hear a further appeal and after it declined, the lenders tried to have the case appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which also declined the lenders’ request. In 2013, Geneva-Roth Ventures, Inc. settled, and the trial court granted preliminary approval to a cash settlement that will return money to thousands of Hoosiers and cancel millions of dollars more in outstanding loans. The case against Apex 1 Processing, Inc. has not settled, and trial is set for 2014.
Goldberg v. Farno, 953 N.E.2d 1244 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011).
- Vess represented the plaintiff in a class action on behalf of Indiana residents who had prepaid for cemetery goods and services and whose money was looted from trusts designed to ensure the goods could be purchased and provided at death. The trial court approved a class-action settlement that put millions of dollars back into the trusts, and one of the non-settling defendants appealed. In a matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals held that a non-settling defendant has no standing to appeal a settlement unless he can show “plain legal prejudice” to his rights, which is more than an injury-in-fact. You can read the opinion here.
Goldberg v. Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., 35 So.3d 905 (Fla. 2010).
- Vess represented the plaintiff in a class action on behalf of Florida homeowners seeking to recover “document preparation fees” that mortgage lenders had charged for preparing mortgages and deeds through employees who were not licensed attorneys. The case was argued all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. You can view video of Vess arguing the case to the seven justices, here read the briefs submitted in the case here, and view The Florida Supreme Court’s decision here.
Greenspan v. Third Federal Savings & Loan Assoc., 912 N.E.2d 567 (Ohio 2009).
- Vess represented the plaintiff in a class action on behalf of Ohio homeowners seeking to recover “document preparation fees” that mortgage lenders had charged for preparing mortgages and deeds through employees who were not licensed attorneys. The case was argued all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. Read the briefs submitted in the case here, and view The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision here.
Meadows v. Clearwater Bay Marketing, LLC, No. 49C01-0812-PL-054708 (Marion Cir. Ct. Ind. 2009).
- Vess represented a class of hundreds of Indiana consumers who received payday loans that allegedly violated Indiana law by charging illegal interest rates and continuously renewing.
Dennerline v. Atterholt, 886 N.E.2d 582 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), trans. dismissed.
- Cohen & Malad, LLP, represented the plaintiff in a case involving an insurer that went into liquidation leaving thousands of Indiana residents with millions of dollar in unpaid medical bills. At trial, the jury returned a verdict for over $17 million. The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the verdict on appeal. You can read the appellate decision here.
Means v. River Valley Financial Bank, et al., No. 49D12-0704-PL-016504 (Marion Super. Ct. Ind. 2008).
- Vess represented a class of thousands of Indiana consumers who prepaid for burial services and merchandise and who alleged that their prepayments had been looted from the cemetery trust funds. The case settled with certain defendants, who agreed to provide consumers over $2 million in burial goods and to establish a fund to provide for burial services.
In re Ready-Mixed Concrete Antitrust Litigation, No. 1:05-cv-979-SEB-JMS (S.D. Ind.).
- Vess worked on the team representing purchasers of ready-mixed concrete who alleged that local concrete companies conspired with one another to illegal fix the price of concrete in the central Indiana area, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Current settlements total over $50 million.
Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes. Case results vary dramatically depending on specific facts and circumstances.
Vess has co-authored the Indiana Section of the American Bar Association’s Survey of State Class Action Law every year since 2008