Indiana appeals court rejects Beta Steel ownership claim

2013-11-03T20:37:00Z 2013-11-04T15:21:04Z Indiana appeals court rejects Beta Steel ownership claimBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
November 03, 2013 8:37 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a partial ownership claim for a Portage steel mill made by a son of the late Greek entrepreneur who founded Beta Steel.

An Athens court determined in 2009 that Beta Steel owner Panayiotis Angelopoulos gave the Portage mill and Alpha Steel, based in England, to his son, Theodore Angelopoulos, prior to Panayiotis' death in 2001. The ruling was affirmed by the Greek Court of Appeals in 2011.

Theodore Angelopoulos sold Beta Steel in October 2008 to Russia-based Novolipetsk Steel for $350 million. The mill is now known as NLMK Indiana.

One month after that sale, Constantinos Angelopoulos, Theodore's brother, filed a lawsuit in Porter County claiming that under Greek inheritance law he was entitled to three-eighths ownership of Beta Steel, or $131,250,000.

Porter Superior Judge Mary Harper dismissed Constantinos Angelopoulos' lawsuit in 2012 on the grounds that Greek courts already resolved the ownership dispute in Theodore's favor, and therefore the inheritance issue did not apply.

The Indiana Court of Appeals this week upheld Harpers' ruling in a 3-0 decision. Appeals Judge Paul Mathias said there's no reason to relitigate the ownership question in Indiana.

"The fact remains that the Greek courts specifically and explicitly found that Panayiotis gave the shares of Beta Steel to Theodore when he was still alive," Mathias wrote. "As all of Constantinos' legal claims are based on his claim of a right to a portion of Beta Steel as an heir to Panayiotis' estate, all of his claims were properly dismissed."

The appeals court decision still can be further appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

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