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Couple should be allowed truck title

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a couple in a vehicle title dispute, ruling the pair should be allowed to take the title free of an auto auction's security interest in the truck.

At issue in Indianapolis Car Exchange, Inc. v. Randall and Christina Alderson,  No. 80A02-0902-CV-116, is whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for the Aldersons and ordering the BMV to release a lien held by Indianapolis Car Exchange.

The truck in question was purchased by Mike Thurman at ICE through his car dealership. ICE had a financing agreement with Thurman despite the dealership's cash flow problems and ICE's insurance company refusing to cover transactions between ICE and the dealership.

Immediately following the purchase, Thurman sold the truck to Bonnie Chrisman of Lightly Used Trucks at another auction house; Chrisman arranged to purchase the truck for Randall Alderson. Thurman never paid ICE for the truck nor informed them of the sale. After learning of the sale, ICE asked the BMV to place a lien in its favor on the truck's title. The auto auction refused to release the lien and the Aldersons refused to return the truck.

In the Aldersons' complaint against ICE, both parties filed for summary judgment; the trial court granted it in favor of the Aldersons.

The Court of Appeals examined Indiana Code Sections 26-1-9.1-320(a), 26-1-1-201(9), and 26-1-2-403(1), which deal with buyers, sellers, and security interests. For a buyer to take free of a security interest created by the seller, the buyer may have knowledge that a security interest exists but may not have knowledge that the sale violates the rights of another person, according to the statutes.

ICE argues there are genuine issues of material fact in the case, including whether Chrisman and the Aldersons knew the sale violated ICE's rights. It pointed to the fact Chrisman told the Aldersons that Thurman "was running on Danny Hockett money," who is the owner of ICE, and that the sale took place at another auction after the first sale. But this evidence doesn't establish a genuine issue of material fact for trial, wrote Judge Michael Barnes.

"In the absence of designated evidence showing that Chrisman or the Aldersons had knowledge that the sale of the truck violated ICE's rights, Chrisman and the Aldersons were buyers in the ordinary course of business," he wrote.

Also, ICE did object to the sale, but only because Thurman defaulted, not because he sold the truck.

"ICE entrusted the truck to Thurman by delivering the truck to him and acquiescing in his retention of possession of the truck with the expectation that Thurman would sell the truck to someone else. This is the very circumstance in which Indiana Code Section 26-1-2-403(2) was intended to apply," Judge Barnes wrote.

Whether Indiana Code Sections 26-1-9.1-320(a) or 26-1-2-403(2) are read separately or in conjunction with one another, the Aldersons should be allowed to take title free of ICE's security interest in the truck, the appellate court ruled.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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