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COA: Remonstrators didn't request timely stay of annexation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of remonstrators’ challenge to annexation of land by the city of Evansville, finding the issue to be moot because the annexation has already been completed.

In In Re Petition in Opposition to Annexation Ordinance F-2008-15 v. The City of Evansville, No. 82A05-1102-PL-84, landowners challenged an adopted amended annexation ordinance by the city of Evansville that reduced the amount of territory contained in the original proposed annexation. Two months after the ordinance was published, the remonstrators sought declaratory relief.

The trial court dismissed the remonstrance and ruled in favor of the city on the declaratory judgment action, dismissed the remonstrators’ declaratory judgment action for lack of jurisdiction and entered final judgment for the city.

The annexation became effective when the clerk of the municipality complied with the filing requirements of Indiana Code 36-4-3-22(a); in this case, the annexation became effective Feb. 11, 2011. The remonstrators filed their notice of appeal on Feb. 18, 2011, but did not request a stay of the annexation before Feb. 11 or 18, but waited until April 4 to do so.

As a result, the Court of Appeals can’t grant the remonstrators any effective relief because they failed to request a stay or file a notice of appeal before the annexation became effective. The appellate court inferred based on previous cases that the Indiana Supreme Court recognized that challenges to a proposed annexation will become moot if the annexation becomes effective before a review of the matter can be completed, absent an injunction or stay on proceeding with the annexation pending appeal.

In order to preserve their challenge to the trial court’s order, the remonstrators should have requested a stay of the annexation following the Jan. 21, 2011, adverse ruling by the trial court. By not doing so, the issues they present on appeal are moot, wrote Judge Cale Bradford.

Even if the issues weren’t moot, the remonstrator’s claims would fail because they did not have the required minimum of landowners’ signatures on the remonstrance petition, and the remonstrators did not explain how their substantial rights were violated by alleged procedural defects by the city under I.C. 36-4-3-8.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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