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Appellate court rules on bona fide purchaser dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling by a Marion Superior judge in a land title case, finding that a bona fide property purchaser can not be held responsible for deficiencies in the court record that led to the underlying dispute.

In Calvin Hair v. Mike Schellenberger and Lawyers Title Ins. Corp., Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Felix Adejare, and Sharon Adejare, No. 49A02-1107-PL-685, the court affirmed the judgment by Judge Ted Sosin concerning who owned a superior title to a piece of property on Talbott Street in Indianapolis.

When Mike Schellenberger bought the Talbott Street property at a foreclosure sale in 2008, the title search did not show a money judgment that Calvin Hair had obtained against former owners Felix and Sharon Adejare. The judgment had never been indexed in the county records, and Schellenberger was unaware of it until a year later when Hair sent him a letter claiming that he had a judgment lien on the property. Schellenberger later tried to remove the cloud on the title, arguing that he was a bona fide purchaser as a matter of law. The trial court ruled against Hair’s argument that the Adejares fraudulently conveyed the property and he had a valid judicial lien that should be enforced.

Examining the issue, the Court of Appeals found that Hair’s judgment was outside the chain of title and that Schellenberger was a bona fide purchaser as a matter of law. Schellenberger can only be responsible for what he knew about, and it was up to Hair to take steps to cure any deficiencies in county records that might be important. For example, Hair could have checked the records to ensure his judgment was on record and perfected, giving rise a lien, or he could have acted within the statute of limitations and raised the alleged fraudulent conveyance during other court proceedings.

The court pointed out that Hair was in a better position to prevent the dispute at hand, and as a result the trial court did not err in granting full summary judgment to the appellees.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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