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COA: Buyer complied with notice statutes for obtaining tax deed

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Noting that the parties and trial court did not follow the established procedures to set aside a tax deed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the court erred in finding a buyer’s notices sent certified mail were statutorily deficient. The notices did not request return receipt.

Vinod Gupta bought the tax certificate to a lot owned by Henry Busan that was sold at a tax sale in 2008 in Warrick County. Gupta sent notice of the sale and redemption period to Busan by certified and first class mail; he sent notice of his filing for a petition for issuance of a tax deed in the same manner.

The notices were not returned to Gupta, but Busan said he did not receive them. Busan filed an action to quiet title in 2012, claiming he just learned of the sale. He argued Gupta did not comply with the certified mail requirements. The Circuit Court treated the complaint as an action to set aside the grant of the tax deed pursuant to Trial Rule 60(B).

The trial court concluded Gupta failed to comply with the certified mail requirements and awarded summary judgment in favor of Busan.

The Court of Appeals noted in Vinod C. Gupta v. Henry S. Busan, Heritage Federal Credit Union, 87A01-1307-MI-340, that the trial court could only hear the complaint within a “reasonable time” instead of within 60 days under Trial Rule 60(B) if Busan alleged he did not receive constitutionally adequate notice.

“Because Busan did not file the motion within sixty days and did not allege inadequate notice to meet the exception, the trial court should not have entertained his motion for relief; however, Gupta did not raise this issue either at the trial court or on appeal, and we will not become an advocate for a party,” Judge Margret Robb wrote. “All of these deviations from the established process to set aside a tax deed under Trial Rule 60(B) contributed to the unique issue presented here upon appeal.”

Gupta provided certified mail receipts, postmarked by the post office as evidence of the fact he mailed the notices to Busan, which is sufficient to prove that he sent the notices by certified mail and complied with the statute. Gupta was not required to provide actual proof of tracking and delivery to show compliance, the judges held. They remanded for grant of summary judgment quieting title for Gupta.

 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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