Judges find certain property not included in sheriff's sale

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The Indiana Court of Appeals relied on a decision from Colorado to rule on a case involving the sale of business personal property at a sheriff’s sale when the notice only mentioned the sale of real property.

Lorenzo and Joette Surrisi appealed the Marshall Circuit Court order that said their real and business personal property were sold to James Bremner at a sheriff’s sale. The Surrisis owned City Tavern in Culver and lived on the premises. Bremner loaned the couple money in return for a security interest in their alcohol beverage permit and a real estate mortgage, security agreement and fixture filing – all of which granted in the case of a default, a mortgage on the property and security interest in all personal property and fixtures, including those owned by the Surrisis for their personal use.

The Surrisis defaulted and the parties agreed that the real property and personal property would be sold at a sheriff’s sale. But the praecipe for sheriff’s sale and the notice posted about the sheriff’s sale only mentioned real property. Before the sale, the Surrisis removed all their personal property. Bremner was the highest bidder at the sale.

At a hearing, the trial court judge found that the sale of the business personal property was adequately supported by the agreed judgment, the post-judgment agreements of the party and the bill of sale issued by the sheriff.

In Lorenzo Surrisi, Individually and d/b/a City Tavern and Joette Surrisi, Individually and d/b/a City Tavern v. James D. Bremner, No. 50A04-1102-MF-83, the appellate court agreed with the Surrisis that the bill of sale was faulty because according to the praecipe of sale, notice of sale and tax documentation, only the real property was subject to the sheriff’s sale. The judges couldn’t find an Indiana case with similar facts, so it turned to the Colorado appellate court decision Van Egmond v. Horsman, 10 P.3d 715 (Colo. App. 2000). Just as in the instant case, those parties agreed that the real and personal property used to secure a promissory note would be sold at a sheriff’s sale, but only the real property was every listed. The highest bidder, Van Egmond, argued that the personal property subject to the settlement agreement was sold as part of the sheriff’s sale, but the Colorado Court of Appeals disagreed because no notice of sale was given with respect to the personal property.

“The Surrisis knew their personal property could be subject to a sheriff’s sale, but the notice of this sale listed only the real property. Nothing in the settlement agreement requires that the real and personal property be sold at the same sale, so a person reading the Notice, even one aware of the Agreed Judgment, would presume that only the real property was to be sold,” wrote Judge Melissa May.

The COA remanded for the vacation of the portion of the court order indicating that the sheriff’s sale included the business personal property. The COA told the court to determine the amount of compensation due to the Surrisis for the loss of their business personal property since Bremner had sold the restaurant and business personal property to a third party.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues