John DeWeese, Sr. and John DeWeese, Jr., Individually and d/b/a John & John Associates, Inc., Appellants/Cross-Appellees -Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs,
Karen J. Pribyla, Appellee/Cross-Appellant-Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant.
from the Clay Circuit Court The Honorable Joseph D. Trout,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 11C01-1410-PL-620
Attorney for Appellants John K. McDavid Hostetter &
Associates Brownsburg, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellee Eric D. Somheil Katherine S. Brown
Brown & Somheil Brazil, Indiana.
of the Case
John & John Associates, Inc. ("John &
John"), a real property improvement supplier under
Indiana Code Section 24-5-11-6 (2018),  agreed to improve
the residential property of Karen J. Pribyla, a senior
consumer under Indiana Code Section 24-5-0.5-2(a)(9).
However, John & John never provided Pribyla with a
written real property improvement contract, which failure was
contrary to Indiana Code Sections 24-5-11-10, -11, and -12.
As a matter of law, John & John's failure to provide
Pribyla with a written contract in conformity with Sections
24-5-11-10, -11, and -12 was a deceptive act, see
I.C. § 24-5-11-14, subject to the remedies and penalties
of Indiana's Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, I.C.
§§ 24-5-0.5-0.1 to -12 ("the DCSA"). And
the DCSA authorizes the award of treble damages for uncured
deceptive acts against senior consumers. I.C. §
24-5-0.5-4(i). For those and other reasons, the trial court
entered an award of treble damages for Pribyla based on John
& John's uncured deceptive acts.
John & John raises several issues on appeal, but we need
only address the following dispositive issue:
1. Whether the trial court erred when it ordered John &
John to pay treble damages under the DCSA for John &
John's failure to provide a senior consumer with a
written contract in conformity with Indiana Code Sections
24-5-11-10, -11, and -12.
cross-appeal, Pribyla raises the following
issue for our review:
2. Whether the trial court erred when it concluded that John
DeWeese, Sr. ("DeWeese, Sr.") and John DeWeese, Jr.
("DeWeese, Jr."), the only shareholders of John
& John, were not personally liable to Pribyla.
and Procedural History
In November of 2013, Pribyla, who was sixty-nine years old at
the time, hired John & John to remodel the kitchen at her
residence in Brazil. John & John never provided Pribyla
with a written contract for the work to be done. Pribyla
later directed John & John to do additional work around
her home, for which, again, John & John did not provide a
Pribyla believed that the home improvement work would be done
by the end of 2013 and paid invoices as John & John sent
them to her. However, in January of 2014, Pribyla approached
John & John about the rising costs of the still-
uncompleted work, and John & John, for the first time,
gave Pribyla a written estimate for the work. The estimate
was hand-written and stated that more than $38, 000 would be
required to complete the remainder of the work. Pribyla and
John & John reached an impasse shortly thereafter, and,
in May, Pribyla asked John & John ...