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Complaint for unpaid car loan filed outside of statute of limitations

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Because a company seeking to recover unpaid installments on a car loan filed its complaint outside of the four-year statute of limitations, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the small claims judgment in favor of the car buyer.

Chris Romine bought a 1996 Pontiac Firebird from Royal Motors Sept. 30, 2005, and financed the transaction. His biweekly payments began Oct. 15, 2005, but due to a severe back injury, he became unemployed and couldn’t keep up with his car payments.  

Heritage Acceptance Corp. as assignee of Royal Motors sued Romine in small claims court April 17, 2013, seeking the jurisdictional limit of $6,000 plus court costs. The trial court ruled in favor of Romine, citing the four-year statute of limitations applicable to “transactions in goods.” Romine also got to keep the car.

Heritage argued in Heritage Acceptance Corporation v. Chris L. Romine, 71A03-1307-SC-283, that the six-year statue of limitations for actions upon promissory notes, bills of exchanges or other written contracts for the payment of money applied. The company conceded that the contract, captioned “Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement” resulted in “a sale of goods.”

“Indeed, the financing aspect of the contract is wholly dependent upon the sale of the car, because without the sale, the financing serves no purpose. Thus, although the transaction has aspects of a contract for payment of money, it is not exclusively a security transaction. Under Indiana Code section 26-1-2-102, the contract is a transaction for goods,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote.

The judges also rejected Heritage’s claim that it still timely filed its complaint based on the acceleration clause, in which Heritage demanded that Romine pay everything owed in one lump sum.

“Here, Heritage waited until early April 2013 to exercise its right to demand full payment under the optional acceleration clause. Romine had tendered his last payment almost six years earlier. Furthermore, Romine’s schedule of seventy-eight biweekly payments would have ended in September 2008. Heritage did not demand full payment until well over four years after that deadline,” Sharpnack wrote. “We conclude … that waiting after these events have occurred to exercise an optional acceleration clause is unreasonable. Thus, Heritage’s long-delayed attempt to exercise the acceleration clause did not prevent the four-year statute of limitations from taking effect, and its complaint is barred.”

 

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  1. 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?

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

  3. 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.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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