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Couple should be allowed truck title

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a couple in a vehicle title dispute, ruling the pair should be allowed to take the title free of an auto auction's security interest in the truck.

At issue in Indianapolis Car Exchange, Inc. v. Randall and Christina Alderson,  No. 80A02-0902-CV-116, is whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for the Aldersons and ordering the BMV to release a lien held by Indianapolis Car Exchange.

The truck in question was purchased by Mike Thurman at ICE through his car dealership. ICE had a financing agreement with Thurman despite the dealership's cash flow problems and ICE's insurance company refusing to cover transactions between ICE and the dealership.

Immediately following the purchase, Thurman sold the truck to Bonnie Chrisman of Lightly Used Trucks at another auction house; Chrisman arranged to purchase the truck for Randall Alderson. Thurman never paid ICE for the truck nor informed them of the sale. After learning of the sale, ICE asked the BMV to place a lien in its favor on the truck's title. The auto auction refused to release the lien and the Aldersons refused to return the truck.

In the Aldersons' complaint against ICE, both parties filed for summary judgment; the trial court granted it in favor of the Aldersons.

The Court of Appeals examined Indiana Code Sections 26-1-9.1-320(a), 26-1-1-201(9), and 26-1-2-403(1), which deal with buyers, sellers, and security interests. For a buyer to take free of a security interest created by the seller, the buyer may have knowledge that a security interest exists but may not have knowledge that the sale violates the rights of another person, according to the statutes.

ICE argues there are genuine issues of material fact in the case, including whether Chrisman and the Aldersons knew the sale violated ICE's rights. It pointed to the fact Chrisman told the Aldersons that Thurman "was running on Danny Hockett money," who is the owner of ICE, and that the sale took place at another auction after the first sale. But this evidence doesn't establish a genuine issue of material fact for trial, wrote Judge Michael Barnes.

"In the absence of designated evidence showing that Chrisman or the Aldersons had knowledge that the sale of the truck violated ICE's rights, Chrisman and the Aldersons were buyers in the ordinary course of business," he wrote.

Also, ICE did object to the sale, but only because Thurman defaulted, not because he sold the truck.

"ICE entrusted the truck to Thurman by delivering the truck to him and acquiescing in his retention of possession of the truck with the expectation that Thurman would sell the truck to someone else. This is the very circumstance in which Indiana Code Section 26-1-2-403(2) was intended to apply," Judge Barnes wrote.

Whether Indiana Code Sections 26-1-9.1-320(a) or 26-1-2-403(2) are read separately or in conjunction with one another, the Aldersons should be allowed to take title free of ICE's security interest in the truck, the appellate court ruled.

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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