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COA finds court erred in allowing late response to be filed

March 29, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the denial of summary judgment for a financial company seeking contract damages and other relief, finding the trial court should not have considered the defendant’s late-filed response on summary judgment.

In DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc. v. Community Mental Health Center, Inc., No. 15A05-1107-CC-366, DeLage Landen Financial Services filed a complaint against Community Mental Health Center Inc. for breach of contract involving copy machines. DLL filed a motion for summary judgment. CMHC, pursuant to Trial Rule 56(C), had 30 days to respond. CMHC did not respond within that time frame, but later filed a motion for enlargement of time to file response to motion for summary judgment and simultaneously filed its response to DLL’s motion for summary judgment.
 
The trial court eventually granted CMHC permission to file its belated response and denied DLL’s motion for summary judgment.

The judges determined that because CMHC failed to file a response or request an extension of time within the prescribed time, the trial court had no discretion to alter the time limits in Trial Rule 56. CMHC’s belated response should have been stricken, and the trial court abused its discretion when it allowed the response to be filed and considered on summary judgment.

The COA also found the trial court erred in denying summary judgment to DLL and remanded for further proceedings.
 

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