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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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