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COA orders bank’s cause of action reinstated

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A Howard Superior Court erred in denying a bank’s motion for relief from the court’s quiet title decree finding the bank no longer held any interest in certain real property owned by a divorcing couple, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

In Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., as Trustee under the pooling and servicing agreement dated as of Nov. 1, 2002, Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2002-HE3 v. Patricia Harris and Shawn Harris, 34A02-1206-MF-467, Deutsche Bank filed a complaint on note and to foreclose on real estate owned by Patricia and Shawn Harris, alleging they were in default. Both Shawn and Patricia Harris filed counterclaims fighting the foreclosure. The case languished for nearly a year without any activity, leading to a Trial Rule 41(E) motion by the court for purposes of dismissing the complaint. The bank’s counsel did not appear at the hearing and the judge dismissed the complaint with prejudice. Shawn Harris’ attorney proposed an order for quiet title on the property, which the court later issued.

The bank sought relief from judgment, which was denied, noting in part the bank didn’t file its motion for relief until nearly a year had passed.

“While the Property and the Bank’s security interest in the Property pursuant to the Mortgage, as well as the parties’ obligations pursuant to the Note, were important to the division of the marital estate in the Borrowers’ divorce proceedings, we decline to find that the reinstatement of the Bank’s claim or the reversal of the Quiet Title Decree would prejudice the Borrowers to an extent that such a reinstatement or reversal would be unreasonable or unjust under the circumstances,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

“As previously mentioned, even if the court dismissed the Bank’s current action with prejudice under Trial Rule 41(E), the Bank would not be precluded from later filing a claim under the Note and Mortgage in connection with separate alleged defaults by the Borrowers. We therefore conclude that the court did not have the authority to enter the Quiet Title Decree to the extent that it ruled or ordered that the Bank no longer held any interest in the Property under the Mortgage or that the Note was cancelled, and the court erred or abused its discretion in denying the Bank’s motion for relief from judgment on that basis,” she continued.

The case is remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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