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Appeals court upholds motion to correct error, voiding Elkhart tax deed

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An Alabama company that purchased a property at a tax sale in Elkhart but subsequently failed to pay property taxes did not receive adequate notice that the city was seeking a tax deed on the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

In a unanimous ruling, the court affirmed an Elkhart Circuit ruling in City of Elkhart, Indiana v. SFS, LLC and Jefferson Group, LLC  that concluded Elkhart officials didn’t comply with state law to provide notice of tax sale proceedings. The appeals court also affirmed the trial court’s ruling that vacated Elkhart’s tax deed for a single-family home at 1701 Kilbourn St. 

“We hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted SFS’ motion to correct error and that its order was correct both as a matter of fact and as a matter of law. Because the City failed to provide adequate notice, the City’s tax deed is void,” Judge Edward Najam Jr. wrote for the panel.

At issue is the city’s failure to provide notice to a company that owned the property after a paralegal found an address for the company through independent investigation.

State law spells out a variety of means by which officials can use public records to obtain addresses of property owners to serve notice of tax sales, but other requirements for notice are unsettled, according to the ruling.

Najam wrote that the city was required to use “ordinary means” to give notice to SFS under I.C. 6-1.1-25-4.5(d). “Our case law does not define the ‘ordinary means’ requirement … we hold simply that where, as here, a governmental entity has knowledge or the means of knowledge at hand of the address of a person with a substantial property interest of public record, it is not ordinary to disregard that knowledge when providing notice to that person.”



 

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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