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Justices grant two civil cases, deny 27 appeals

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The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted two cases, one involving how public safety officials notify the driving public about icy road conditions and a second case delving into what state law requires when it comes to property tax changing land annexations.

Justices in private conference last week decided what they would do with 29 cases, declining most of those by unanimous vote. However, on five of those cases, one or two justices disagreed. One of the 27 cases the court declined to accept involved the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library appeal against an architectural firm handling a $100 million construction project. Justice Steven David didn’t participate in that appeal, which came from Boone County where the decision was made by a special judge.

In the two cases the court accepted, justices voted unanimously.

The first accepted case is Putnam County Sheriff v. Pamela Price, 60A01-0911-CV-551, an Owen Circuit case that the Court of Appeals ruled on July 28. The case involved a 2007 accident caused by icy roads. A woman sued the Putnam County sheriff on the grounds that he owed a common law duty of ordinary and reasonable care to warn the traveling public of known hazardous conditions like that icy road. The appellate panel affirmed the trial court’s order denying the sheriff’s motion to dismiss that civil action, finding that caselaw supports the notion he had a duty to warn the public and that the sheriff isn’t immune to liability.

Justices also granted transfer in the case of City of Greenwood, et al. v. Town of Bargersville, 41A05-0912-CV-684. The justices agreed to consider a case the Court of Appeals ruled on July 15. In that ruling, the appellate court for the first time addressed whether the waiver of the right to remonstrate against a land annexation constitutes “consent” under Indiana Code Section 36-4-3-9.

Bargersville obtained land owner signatures in a territory the town wanted to annex, including 1,847 acres located within 3 miles of Greenwood’s city limits, which the city also wanted to annex. Disputes over ownership and proper petitioning ensued, and the trial court granted summary judgment for Bargersville and voided Greenwood’s attempted annexation. But the appellate court found that fewer than 51 percent consented as required by state statute, so the Bargersville annexation wasn’t valid.
 

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