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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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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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