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Judges rule on lakefront land rights case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a LaGrange Circuit judge’s decision granting summary judgment for a group of land owners caught up in a court dispute with neighbors about a portion of land situated between the plaintiffs’ homes and the shore of Big Long Lake.

In Brad A. Altevogt, et al. v. Dennis L. Brand, et al., No. 44A03-1106-MI-237, the COA affirmed a decision by LaGrange Circuit Judge Scott VanDerbeck in the land rights dispute between neighbors.

The plaintiffs in this case are front-lot owners in a subdivision platted in the 1930s in LaGrange County. Plaintiffs’ lots are situated near the lake with only the Indian Trail separating them from the lakeshore. The defendants are all back-lot owners who claim that their access to the lake would be impaired if the plaintiffs prevail in their claim of adverse possession of those portions of land in front of their lots.

In November 2008, the front-lot owners filed a complaint against the back-lot owners seeking to quiet title to those portions of the Indian Trail between the front lots and Big Long Lake. The trial court held a hearing on summary judgment motions from both sides in April 2011 and entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

The Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments that the Indian Trail was dedicated as a public easement adjacent to the lake and that their fee ownership should extend to the lakeshore. The trial court didn’t address this argument because it wasn’t raised in the pleadings, and the appellate panel found that this means the argument fails.

The plaintiffs also argued there’s insufficient evidence of the original plat-owner’s intent to establish common-law dedication but that there is enough proof to establish a stator dedication. The appellate court disagreed. Specifically, the judges found that the trail was only for the use of lot owners and guests; not the public.

Finding that the trial court properly concluded the plaintiffs hadn’t established the elements of adverse possession, the appeals judges affirmed the lower court. They also pointed out that they do not read the trial court’s order to say that all lot owners are co-tenants of the Indian Trail.


 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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