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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. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

  5. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

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