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COA reversal: Property manager can’t keep renter’s late fees

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A property owner’s lawsuit seeking a class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters was revived by the Court of Appeals on Wednesday. The appellate panel reversed dismissal of the suit and ordered further proceedings.

Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote for the panel that Marion Superior Judge John Hanley erred in granting a motion to dismiss in Diane S. Brown Bell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. The Bryant Company, Inc., 49A04-1305-PL-210.

The Bryant Company managed property for Bell, who learned at some point that a renter had occasionally paid $50 late fees to Bryant which the company claimed a right to keep. Friedlander, who wrote for the panel that also included Judges John Baker and Nancy Vaidik, found nothing in the agreement between Bell and Bryant stipulating or refuting Bryant’s claim to the late fees.

“It seems, therefore, that we are left to decide this matter based upon Bell’s assertion and our own common sense. Upon those considerations, we agree with Bell,” Friedlander wrote.

“At a minimum ... the trial court erred in granting Bryant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to Bell’s claim,” the panel held. The trial court also must weigh whether certification of a class in this case is appropriate under Trial Rule 23.

 

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  2. Oh, and you fail to mention that you deprived the father of far FAR more time than he ever did you, even requiring officers to escort the children back into his care. Please, can you see that you had a huge part in "starting the war?" Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

  3. Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

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