ILNews

COA upholds judgment in auction of towed car

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a father and daughter whose car was towed and later sold at auction, finding the towing company didn’t comply with the 15-day waiting period after placing notice in the newspaper before selling the car.

In Rick Gillespie, Dawn Gillespie and Rick's Towing and Maintenance, LLC v. Frank B. Niles and Kathryn Niles, No. 49A05-1102-CT-70, Rick and Dawn Gillespie’s company, Rick’s Towing and Maintenance, towed Kathryn Niles’ vehicle in December 2008. The car was still titled and registered to Kathryn’s father, Frank. Rick’s Towing sent notices to Frank, who lived at the same address as Kathryn, saying the Chevy Tahoe would be sold at public auction on Jan. 21, 2009, if it wasn’t claimed. On Jan. 6, the towing company contacted the Indianapolis Star about publishing notice of the sale, which ran Jan. 8. The vehicle was sold, and five days later the Nileses attempted to claim the car.

The Nileses sued for conversion, saying the Gillespies didn’t comply with the law regarding notice before selling a car at auction. The Gillespies filed a motion for summary judgment; the Nileses filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The trial court ruled in favor of the Nileses and granted a judgment against the Gillespies instead of Rick’s Towing. The Nileses won $22,000 plus interest.

The Court of Appeals affirmed judgment for the Nileses, finding the defendants didn’t comply with the statutory requirements under Indiana Code 9-22-5-15 to enforce their lien by selling the Tahoe at auction. The statute dictates that the car couldn’t be sold before 15 days “after the date the advertisement required by subsection (d) has been placed or after notice required by subsection (e) has been sent, whichever is later.”

The Gillespies argued that they complied with the statute because they placed the ad with the newspaper 15 days before the sale by contacting the Indianapolis Star and it wasn’t their fault it didn’t run until two days later.

“The only reasonable interpretation of ‘placed’ in this context is that the advertisement had to be published at least fifteen days before the sale,” wrote Judge Michael Barnes. “The Defendants failed to wait the required fifteen days before selling the vehicle at the auction. As a result, the Defendants failed to meet the statutory requirements to auction the vehicle.”

The trial court did err by granting summary judgment against the Gillespies personally rather than against Rick’s Towing only. The Gillespies’ actions were performed as employees of the company and don’t demonstrate a basis for piercing the corporate veil, the appellate court held.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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.

ADVERTISEMENT