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Reversal holds bank’s suit on repossessed vehicle filed too late

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A pro se litigant won a reversal at the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday, which ruled a trial court erred when it ruled in favor of a bank seeking to collect after a vehicle repossession.

Fifth Third Bank’s lawsuit against Robert Imbody was filed after the applicable six-year statute of limitations, the panel ruled, reversing judgment for the bank and ordering Marion Superior Judge David J. Dreyer to enter judgment in favor of Imbody.

Imbody purchased a vehicle with a loan from Fifth Third in July 2004, but monthly payments ceased in March 2006. In May of that year, the bank repossessed the vehicle, charged off the balance of $31,396, and sold the vehicle at auction.

Imbody agreed to make $100 monthly payments to the bank to satisfy a deficiency balance of just less than $15,000, but those payments stopped in February 2008.

The bank sued in June 2012 and the trial court ruled in its favor and also awarded prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees for a judgment of $24,939 plus court costs.

“The question presented on appeal is whether the Bank’s complaint is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. We hold that the Bank’s repossession of the collateral accelerated payment on the note, which triggered the six-year statute of limitations, and that the Bank’s complaint is time-barred” under I.C. § 34-11-2-9, Judge Edward Najam wrote for the panel.

“The trial court erred when it concluded that the Bank’s complaint was timely filed. We reverse the trial court’s judgment in favor of the Bank and instruct the court to enter judgment in favor of Imbody,” the panel concluded in Robert Imbody v. Fifth Third Bank, 49A05-1307-CC-322.
 

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