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Justices send Boonville annexation case back to trial court

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Multiple parcels of land acquired by the state for an adjoining public roadway should be counted as one parcel for purposes of remonstration, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In American Cold Storage, et al. v. The City of Boonville, 87S01-1303-PL-157, the justices had to decide whether the statutory prerequisite 65 percent of remonstrating landowners is to be determined by separately counting the multiple parcels acquired by the state to make up State Road 62 or collectively as one parcel.

Landowners filed an action to remonstrate against an attempt by the city of Boonville to annex 1,165 acres of real estate located west of the city’s geographical limits. The city sought to dismiss, claiming the landowners didn’t satisfy the statutory requirements of I.C. 36-4-3-11(a). The case wound its way to the Indiana court of Appeals – where the judges ruled that separate parcels were not to be counted except as constituting the public highway – and back to the trial court. In 2011, the trial court dismissed the landowners’ action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

The landowners then appealed, asserting that the trial court, in calculating whether the 65 percent remonstrance threshold was satisfied, erroneously separately counted those parcels that had been acquired by the state and that now comprise State Road 62, thereby precluding the remonstrators from satisfying the threshold. The Court of Appeals reversed and held that the multiple parcels acquired by the state to build State Road 62 should be counted as a single parcel under the Remonstrance Statute.

The justices found this case to be distinguishable from the cases involving private owners of multiple parcels in Arnold v. City of Terre Haute, 725 N.E2d. 869 (Ind. 2000), and City of Fort Wayne v. Certain Northeast Annexation Area Landowners, 564 N.E.2d 297. (Ind. Ct. App. 1990).

“We hold that the land in this case, which comprises the portion of State Road 62 included in the annexed territory, should be considered and counted as a single parcel in determining whether the remonstrating Landowners comprise 65 percent of the owners of the annexed territory. We therefore reverse the decision of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote.
 

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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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