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OVERVIEW

Robert G. Devetski
Partner

South Bend

700 1st Source Bank Center
100 North Michigan
South Bend, IN 46601-1632

P 574-237-1147

F 574-237-1125

OVERVIEW

Robert G. Devetski
Partner

South Bend

700 1st Source Bank Center
100 North Michigan
South Bend, IN 46601-1632

P 574-237-1147

F 574-237-1125

As lead counsel in numerous jury trials, Bob Devetski has defended his client’s rights in litigation involving improper business practices, insurance company denials of coverage, and bad faith and personal injury claims. He represents business interests in a broad range of complex disputes, including insurance coverage and contract claims, corporate and fiduciary litigation and toxic torts.

OVERVIEW

Robert G. Devetski Partner

South Bend

700 1st Source Bank Center
100 North Michigan
South Bend, IN 46601-1632

P : 574-237-1147

As lead counsel in numerous jury trials, Bob Devetski has defended his client’s rights in litigation involving improper business practices, insurance company denials of coverage, and bad faith and personal injury claims. He represents business interests in a broad range of complex disputes, including insurance coverage and contract claims, corporate and fiduciary litigation and toxic torts.

Bob counsels and assists insurance policyholders presenting liability and property insurance claims that range from environmental contamination to fire and other casualty losses. When Bob sees injustice, particularly in the insurance realm, he is relentless when helping clients pursue their rights and has litigated cases in which he has recovered millions of dollars of coverage.

Bob also advises clients on trust and estate matters. He has drafted estate plans of varying complexity, and represented a broad array of fiduciary and estate representatives, trustees and beneficiaries in will contests, trust contests, fiduciary misconduct and wealth management-related disputes. Regardless of the challenge at hand, Bob makes a point of providing each client with the information and solutions they need, keeping them apprised of all developments and viable options for a favorable conclusion at every turn.

Primarily a trial lawyer, Bob is valued for his ability to identify the facts and strategically position disputes for efficient and expeditious resolution. Particularly in northern Indiana, Bob is known as a respected and esteemed advocate. His dedication to community involvement and local and regional professional organizations allow him not only to serve the community, but also to know the judges before whom he presents his clients’ positions.

A Registered Civil Mediator, Bob has mediated more than 100 cases involving business disputes and personal injury claims. Although some mediation skills can be learned, experience is still the key factor in serving as an effective mediator. After more than three decades of successful legal practice, Bob offers veteran perspective and skill in addressing and overcoming the emotion that infuses acrimony in a fair and balanced way.

Bob has lectured on insurance and litigation topics in professional, trade and client seminars. He joined Barnes & Thornburg in 2002 after practicing in South Bend at the firm Devetski & Jensen, P.C.

Professional and Community Involvement

Former president, Robert A. Grant Inn of Court

Former chair, Indiana State Bar Association's Litigation Section

Judicial selection panels, various federal and state courts

Honors

The Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2019; Lawyer of the Year, 2017
EXPERIENCE
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney assisted a national bank’s trust division, which had been appointed by the probate court as successor personal representative of an estate, in its effort to investigate and conclude fraud charges by one beneficiary against the former personal representative. The beneficiary sought to litigate the fraud issue, but an early settlement of the beneficiary’s claim preserved much of the estate for distribution.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney assisted a trust company in litigation resulting from a son’s challenge to his mother’s will which left much of her estate to charities. The son contested the will claiming his mother had been mentally incapable of making a will at the time she executed it. The son offered the testimony of a neuropsychologist, whose testimony was successfully challenged and ordered inadmissible, facilitating a favorable settlement of the son’s claim.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney defended a law firm against suit alleging malpractice in the preparation of testamentary trust. On behalf of our client, the firm obtained Supreme Court approval of probate reformation of erroneous language in deceased testator's trust. The Supreme Court approval avoided significant potential tax liability for decedent's heirs and successfully minimized trust beneficiaries' legal malpractice action against client lawyer who drafted trust. Carlson v. Sweeney, Dabagia, Donoghue, Thorne, Janes & Pagos, No. 46S05-0801-CV-27 (Ind. 2008).
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney defended a professional employment recruiting company, in a suit brought by the former company president against parent company, parent’s majority owner, and general counsel. The suit involved a complex contract dispute over former president’s claim that his employment compensation agreements included ownership interest in the company. The suit was successfully mediated early in the litigation process.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney defended Keystone RV on a breach of warranty claim, obtained summary judgment from the trial court and then defended that summary judgment on appeal; appellate court affirmed lower court's decision. Williams v. Keystone RV, No. 20A05-0609-CV-525 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007).
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney defended Stellhorn against America's Directories' claim of breach of contract, and brought a counterclaim for fraud. Following trial, jury found in favor of Stelhorn on original claim and on counterclaim, awarding Stelhorn its damages, attorney fees and punitive damages. On appeal of jury’s verdict for Stellhorn; appellate court affirmed lower court's ruling. America's Directories, Inc. v. Stellhorn One Hour Photo, Inc., 833 N.E.2d 1059 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005).
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney represented a manufacturer of caulks and sealants in defense of lawsuit filed by residents of nearby subdivision, whose wells were contaminated by vinyl chloride emanating from manufacturer's old release of PERC. The firm assisted the client with bringing suit against the client's insurers, enforcing insurance coverage and resolving residents' claims.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney represented a metal castings manufacturer client whose former employee improperly sued the third party administrator of client’s ERISA health care plan. The suit was filed because the TPA would not pay former employee’s health expenses, because his attorney failed to present the necessary documentation of employee’s medical care within deadlines established by health plan. The Barnes & Thornburg attorney provided counsel to client on insurance coverage and ramifications of decision to pay or not to pay medical benefits under plan.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney represented a waste disposal company in lawsuit against multiple property and casualty insurers to establish client's entitlement to insurance coverage for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated cleanup of landfill superfund site, based on CGL policies from the 1960s and 1970s.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney represented a wholesale supply company and obtained injunction, without noncompete agreements, against former employees who left company to compete with former employer.
  • A Barnes & Thornburg attorney represented the personal representative of an estate against the estate’s primary beneficiary, who claimed the personal representative had charged too much for his services. The Probate court found in favor of the client and awarded the majority of the fees charged. The firm also defended the award on appeal, and appellate court affirmed the probate court award to client.
  • Barnes & Thornburg attorneys assisted an international charity, generously named in a will, which was challenged by the testator’s children. Despite the children’s efforts to obtain a friendly affidavit from the testator’s treating physician, the charity obtained a favorable mediated settlement.
  • Barnes & Thornburg attorneys assisted an RV seating manufacturer charged with contaminating groundwater that migrated to drinking water wells of nearby homeowners. The plaintiffs’ claims included a variety of property damage and personal injuries, including a wrongful death claim for a plaintiff who died of cancer during the pendency of the lawsuit. Summary judgments filed to challenge the damage claims were pending at the time of the mediated settlement, which resolved all of plaintiffs’ claims filed in state and federal courts.
  • Barnes & Thornburg attorneys represented an Indiana manufacturer of component mirrors for RV industry, in a suit brought by California distributor who sued client’s subsidiary and majority owner. The suit was filed in Los Angeles County and the claims included a breach of contract by company whose assets had been acquired by the client. All but one of the Distributor’s claims were defeated early in the litigation, after which the remaining claim was resolved.
  • Defended school in former principal's appeal of lower court's dismissal of claim for declaratory and injunctive relief; court affirmed lower court's ruling.
  • On behalf of social club client, a Barnes & Thornburg attorney brought suit against former club manager after IRS confiscated club's bank accounts for manager's failure to pay employment taxes. The client obtained settlement which covered IRS arrearage, and successfully abated IRS penalties assessed against club.
  • The firm successfully represented a divorced father's estate against a will submitted for probate. The decedent, who lived in a small rural community, was thought to have died intestate and left all of his possessions equally to his two sons. The sons did not get along. The younger son's wife allegedly found a purported will, which left nearly all of the estate to her husband. The witnesses to the purported will could not be identified. Nevertheless, the burden to disprove the will's validity was on the estate. After interviewing the decedent's doctor, examining volunteer fire department signature records and obtaining the decedent's attorney's entire file (not an easy task, since decedent's attorney had committed suicide before decedent's death), it became known that the will may be a forgery. The younger son's attorney withdrew the purported will from probate without further comment, vacating the trial, two weeks before it was to go.
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