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COA affirms the voiding of $500,000 default judgment against American Legion post

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A Marion Superior court correctly set aside default judgment against an American Legion post after finding the method employed to serve process on the organization was not the best way to inform it of a woman’s lawsuit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Mary L. Anderson slipped and fell on property owned by the Wayne Post 64, American Legion Corp. in June 2010. She sued and received a default judgment of $500,000 in 2012 when the American Legion failed to appear or respond to the complaint.

American Legion moved to set aside the default judgment, arguing it was void because Anderson had not served her complaint on it, so the court did not acquire personal jurisdiction over the organization.

Anderson had a Marion County Sheriff’s deputy leave a copy of the complaint and summons at 601 S. Holt Road, the registered address of Robert Eakins, the registered agent for the organization. But the deputy left the copy at the door of an outbuilding to the post instead of at the main building. Ken Cooper, the current registered agent for the American Legion, testified that the location of the door would make it difficult for someone to notice anything left there, and that it could have easily been blown away.

The sheriff’s deputy also mailed a copy of the complaint and summons by first class mail to the address.

Marion Superior Judge Heather Welch overturned the default judgment finding it void because of insufficient service of process. The Court of Appeals agreed.

“There is no question that Anderson failed to serve the American Legion in a manner authorized by our Trial Rules,” Judge Edward Najam wrote in Mary L. Anderson v. Wayne Post 64, American Legion Corp., 49A05-1309-CT-442. He noted that the copy of the summons and complaint should have been mailed by registered or certified mail, which requires acknowledgement of receipt, as outlined in Rule 4.1(A)(1). In addition, the sheriff’s deputy did not serve Eakins personally as required under Rule 4.1(A)(2).

The judges rejected Anderson’s claim that her attempt to serve process was still adequate. The deputy did not leave the summons and complaint in a place or with a person reasonably calculated to apprise the American Legion of her lawsuit against it, let alone employ a method that was better calculated to give notice than the methods authorized by the Trial Rules, Najam wrote.

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  1. Nice work, Courtney!

  2. The O'Banions also sued Ford claiming the Roush vehicle's throttle cable was defective and stuck, and did not present evidence or argue to the contrary at trial. The proceedings were delayed by an appeal on the admissibility of expert testimony in which O' Banions also joined with the Roush Estate.

  3. AP writes "The justices will hear the appeal of the Colorado baker that pits his claims of religious freedom against the rights of the same-sex couple who wanted a wedding cake to commemorate their marriage." HOW ABOUT IF THIS WERE THIS ISSUE: "The justices will hear the appeal of the Colorado Jewish videographer that pits his claims of religious freedom against the rights of the Holocaust deniers who wanted to hire his photography studio to shoot their documentary debunking the six-million-cremated-theory ..." Would anyone doubt that the Jewish fellow's rights triumphed? Or how about "The justices will hear the appeal of the Colorado black carpenter that pits his claims of religious freedom against the rights of a white supremacist who wants a gallows built on his property to stage the mock hanging of former president Obama." Hey, would anyone doubt that the Black fellow's rights to contract triumphed? BUT ... make the "villain" in the story Christian conservatives (insert two minute hate here) and the victims gay (so cute they are), and it is bar the door Katie, for Big Brother's judicial stormtroopers simply must weigh in to wash clean the minds of any who would DARE to dissent from the elists' mandated spiritus mundi.

  4. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  5. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

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