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COA rules in favor of tax sale bidder in dispute over property

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that tax deeds be reinstated and reversed summary judgment and a decree of foreclosure in favor of a bank in a combined appeal over foreclosed property in Elkhart County.

The COA ruled on the two cases in Anthony J. Iemma, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. Successor by Merger with Bank One, N.A., 20A03-1207-MF-326. Cause No. 188 deals with Chase Bank’s grant of partial summary judgment and foreclosure of property at 1034 East Jackson Blvd. in Elkhart; Cause No. 41 deals with the setting aside of LRB Holdings’ tax deeds purchased on the same two lots at that address. Anthony and Sandra Iemma entered into a mortgage with Bank One-Merrillville in 1997. The recorded mortgage lists two addresses – one for Bank One-Merrillville in Merrillville; the other under the heading “When recorded mail to:” that was for Bank One-Indianapolis in Indianapolis. Chase Bank became successor-by-merger of Bank One in 2004.

The Iemmas defaulted on the mortgage and did not pay taxes on the property in question. Chase sought to foreclose; LRB as successful bidder at the tax sale, sent notices to Chase through its attorneys on the foreclosure case after the mail sent to Bank One-Merillville was returned as undeliverable. It did not mail notice to the Bank One-Indianapolis address.

LRB appealed the ruling in favor of Chase, arguing the trial court erred in determining the tax deeds should be set aside because LRB failed to comply with statutory notice requirements, due process requirements and statutory property description requirements.

The trial court concluded that LRB was required to send notices to mortgagee Bank One-Merrillville, but also to the bank in Indianapolis. But the mortgage did not indicate that Bank One-Indianapolis was a person with a substantial property interest of public record on the Elkhart property, Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote. As such, LRB had no responsibility under statute to give notice to the Indianapolis office.

The judges found LRB complied with due process requirements by taking the extra step of mailing notice to the attorneys involved in the foreclosure action. The trial court also erred as a matter of law by concluding that the notices were not in substantial compliance with I.C. 6-1.1-25- 4.5.

“In this opinion, we have decided the Cause No. 41 tax sale deed issues in favor of LRB and against Chase Bank. LRB is the owner of the two lots with a common address of 1034 East Jackson Boulevard, Elkhart, IN 46516, and there is no longer any basis for the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and foreclosure in Cause No. 188. Accordingly, the trial court’s order should be set aside,” Pyle wrote.

 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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