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Appeals court affirms judgment in family land-contract dispute

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A trial court properly ruled that an insurance company owed no duty to a mother who sold property on contract to her son and daughter-in-law, but the son and daughter-in-law who collected proceeds from the policy do.

The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed the judgment of Howard Circuit Judge Lynn A. Murray in a 28-page order that found an insurance company was not liable for failing to name the mother on a home insurance policy despite her ownership.

In Nancy A. Missig v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, Andre M. Missig, and Autumn Missig, 34A02-1212-CT-1002, the court did find that Andre and Autumn Missig did bear liability to Nancy Missig, who had sold a Kokomo home to them on a contract under which they agreed to pay a monthly sum plus taxes and insurance.

When the home burned and was a total loss, State Farm paid claims to Andre and Autumn totaling $270,000, but the couple failed to make good on the land contract. The trial court found, and the appeals court affirmed, that State Farm owed no duty to the mother, but that she was entitled to a lien on a home in Windfall that Andre and Autumn purchased with insurance proceeds. The lien of more than $153,000 plus interest represents the balance due Nancy on the land contract for the Kokomo home.

“We conclude that the trial court properly entered judgment for Nancy against Andre and Autumn for the full unpaid balance of the land contract including interest, plus a lien and constructive trust as to the Windfall Property,” Judge John Baker wrote for the panel that included judges Ezra Friedlander and Nancy Vaidik. “We also conclude that the trial court properly determined that State Farm was not obligated to pay additional proceeds to Nancy because it already paid the required funds to Andre and Autumn, the named insureds under the policy.

“Indeed, Autumn and Andre could have shared the proceeds they received from State Farm with Nancy, but chose not to do so,” Baker wrote. The court also noted “the trial court observed that Nancy did nothing to confirm that her interest in the property was protected.”
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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