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Court of Appeals cites snail mail as reason for overturning summary judgment

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While neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will keep the U.S. Postal Service from its appointed rounds, the Indiana Court of Appeals reminded a lower court that trial rules allow for three extra days when motions are sent by mail.

The Court of Appeals overturned a Marion Superior Court’s denial of a motion to correct error in Anthony E. Boyd v. WHTIV, Inc. and Walter Tarr, IV, 49A05-1303-PL-107, ruling that Boyd did file in a timely manner his motion for an extension of time to respond to a summary judgment motion.

WHTIV and Tarr argued that Boyd filed his motion 33 days after they filed their motion for summary judgment. This was three days beyond the 30-day limit established in Indiana Trial Rule 56 (F) or Trial Rule 56 (I).

In addition, the pair cited DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc. v. Community Mental Health Center, 965 N.E.2d 693 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012) in asserting that Trial Rule 6(E) does not apply. Trial Rule 56 exclusively controls the timing of summary judgment proceedings.

The Court of Appeals pointed to State v. Gonzalez-Vazquez, 984 N.E.2d 704, 706 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012) which addressed the scope of the DeLage decision.  

There, the appeals court faulted the post-conviction court for broadly interpreting DeLage to mean that no provision of Trial Rule 6 could be applicable in summary judgment proceedings.

Using Gonzalez-Vazquez as a guide, the Court of Appeals agreed with Boyd that the three-day extension provided in Trial Rule 6(E) applied to his request for an extension of time. Therefore, Boyd’s motion was not untimely and the trial court should not have denied his motion to correct error.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeals, finding the grant of summary judgment was premature, also reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of WHTIV and Tarr.

 

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