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Court rules in favor of town in disannexation suit

February 17, 2009

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a town in a disannexation order because the plaintiffs in the case didn't file their complaint for relief until after the statute of limitations had run out.

In Town of Cloverdale v. Scott Renner, et al.,No. 67A01-0804-CV-206, four tracts of land belonging to Scott Renner and other plaintiffs were annexed in 1991. Renner and the others claim they received no notice of the annexation and weren't aware of it until 1999 after examining tax statements. They claim they haven't received any services due to them under the annexation, and brought the suit for disannexation, injunction, and damages in March 2006. The trial court ruled in favor of the landowners.

On appeal, Cloverdale argued Renner and the others couldn't bring their suit because the statute of limitations had run, as pursuant to Indiana Code Section 36-4-3-16(a). Based on that statute, the landowners should have filed suit by March 21, 1995. Even if the statute of limitations had tolled, they should have filed by 2000, one year after they claim they discovered the annexation.

The appellate court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the doctrine of continued wrong prevented the statute of limitations from running out and that the doctrine of estoppel should prevent Cloverdale from raising the statute of limitations defense.

"Inasmuch as the one-year statute of limitations had long since elapsed when the appellees filed their complaint, the trial court erroneously entered judgment in their favor. Given that the legislature has decided that the appellees' claims are time-barred, we need not and will not consider the substance of their arguments," wrote Chief Judge John Baker.

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