ILNews

Deed provisions are not vague, COA rules

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Finding that the trial court erred in construing the provision of a plaintiff’s deed in a dispute over use of parking areas, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the finding of the existence of a prescriptive easement allowing dance academy customers to use portions of land owned by a neighboring company for ingress and egress from the academy’s property.

Issues arose when David Grace purchased two lots and leased the property next to Weisheit’s construction business to Dance Central Academy. The dance customers parked in the dance academy’s spaces as well as some spaces that belonged to parts of the lots owned by Weisheit. This led to conflicts between Weisheit and Dance Central’s owners and customers over the course of several months. Weisheit then parked a box truck just south of the property line, making it difficult for customers to park in front of the dance studio.

The parties went to court, where the judge ruled that a prescriptive easement existed as to all parties for the mutual use of plot 21a, owned by Grace, and plot 21b, owned by Weisheit. The trial court also ruled that the provision in Grace’s deed did not create an express easement as to use of plots 21b, 22 and 23 – owned by Weisheit. The court also denied Weisheit’s counterclaim for nuisance.

The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred as a matter of law in interpreting the deed provisions and finding them to be vague.

The judges noted how the previous owners of the land in question needed to use portions of the other’s land in order to receive deliveries involving big trucks. The 1981 deed provision established mutual benefits for the original owners, namely, the use of driving and parking areas that were divided in the 1981 conveyance of part of the land to the owner prior to Weisheit. It also includes language establishing mutual obligations for maintenance of those commonly used parts of the parking and driving areas and the party wall.

“None of this, we think, is vague,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey in Terry Weisheit Rental Properties, LLC v. David Grace, LLC and Dance Central Academy, LLC, 19A05-1310-PL-488.

The judges construed the nature of the deed provisions and found they establish mutual obligations between the original grantor and grantee for use and maintenance of plots 20, 21a, 21b and 22 and require them to share the costs of maintenance for the parking and driving areas and the party wall. The deed provisions are covenants that the court found to be affirmative, and that the land use covenants run with the land and Grace and Weisheit alike may benefit from and are burdened by the deed provisions.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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