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Complaint for unpaid car loan filed outside of statute of limitations

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Because a company seeking to recover unpaid installments on a car loan filed its complaint outside of the four-year statute of limitations, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the small claims judgment in favor of the car buyer.

Chris Romine bought a 1996 Pontiac Firebird from Royal Motors Sept. 30, 2005, and financed the transaction. His biweekly payments began Oct. 15, 2005, but due to a severe back injury, he became unemployed and couldn’t keep up with his car payments.  

Heritage Acceptance Corp. as assignee of Royal Motors sued Romine in small claims court April 17, 2013, seeking the jurisdictional limit of $6,000 plus court costs. The trial court ruled in favor of Romine, citing the four-year statute of limitations applicable to “transactions in goods.” Romine also got to keep the car.

Heritage argued in Heritage Acceptance Corporation v. Chris L. Romine, 71A03-1307-SC-283, that the six-year statue of limitations for actions upon promissory notes, bills of exchanges or other written contracts for the payment of money applied. The company conceded that the contract, captioned “Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement” resulted in “a sale of goods.”

“Indeed, the financing aspect of the contract is wholly dependent upon the sale of the car, because without the sale, the financing serves no purpose. Thus, although the transaction has aspects of a contract for payment of money, it is not exclusively a security transaction. Under Indiana Code section 26-1-2-102, the contract is a transaction for goods,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote.

The judges also rejected Heritage’s claim that it still timely filed its complaint based on the acceleration clause, in which Heritage demanded that Romine pay everything owed in one lump sum.

“Here, Heritage waited until early April 2013 to exercise its right to demand full payment under the optional acceleration clause. Romine had tendered his last payment almost six years earlier. Furthermore, Romine’s schedule of seventy-eight biweekly payments would have ended in September 2008. Heritage did not demand full payment until well over four years after that deadline,” Sharpnack wrote. “We conclude … that waiting after these events have occurred to exercise an optional acceleration clause is unreasonable. Thus, Heritage’s long-delayed attempt to exercise the acceleration clause did not prevent the four-year statute of limitations from taking effect, and its complaint is barred.”

 

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  1. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

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  3. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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