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Court didn't err in ordering cash bond

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s order that the two beneficiaries of a piece of property who objected to the sale of the land must each pay a $100,000 cash bond. The case also gave the appellate court the opportunity to decide the standard of review in this type of challenge.

John Cox and Daphne Barger were among several beneficiaries named in Doris P. Jackson’s will to receive 120 acres. A coal company offered to buy the land for $1.4 million dollars and the six other beneficiaries wanted to sell the land to pay off the obligations of the estate. Cox and Barger objected.

Following Indiana Code Section 29-1-15-4, the trial court granted the personal representatives of the estate’s request that Cox and Barger post a bond to pay the estate’s obligations, which were estimated at around $124,000. Cox and Barger were ordered to each pay $100,000. They filed this interlocutory appeal.

The Estate of Doris P. Jackson, John Cox, et al. v. George R. Jackson, II, et al., No. 77A04-1005-ES-331, happened to be the first time the Court of Appeals determined the standard of review for the type of challenge raised by Cox and Barger. They argued the trial court erred by requiring more than three times the amount of cash bond than was necessary from the objecting beneficiaries and by requiring a cash bond instead of one with a surety.

The appellate court concluded that because I.C. Section 29-1-15-4 lets the trial court “approve” both the amount and form of the bond, the abuse of discretion standard is appropriate. They also found the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by ordering the high amount in a cash bond. The bond must be sufficient to pay all the obligations of the estate, not just the objecting beneficiary’s proportionate share, wrote Judge Terry Crone.

Because the difference in value between the estate’s obligations and the “other property” in the estate is at least $100,000, the trial court’s setting the bond at $100,000 wasn’t an abuse of discretion.

The statute references sureties, but the appellate court has previously held that cash can qualify as a surety.

“We cannot conclude that a trial court abuses its discretion in ordering a cash bond simply because it might pose a hardship and be more expensive than another form of surety,” he wrote. “Because that is the full extent of Appellants’ argument on this issue, we find no abuse of discretion in this case.”

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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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