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Justices send Boonville annexation case back to trial court

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Multiple parcels of land acquired by the state for an adjoining public roadway should be counted as one parcel for purposes of remonstration, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In American Cold Storage, et al. v. The City of Boonville, 87S01-1303-PL-157, the justices had to decide whether the statutory prerequisite 65 percent of remonstrating landowners is to be determined by separately counting the multiple parcels acquired by the state to make up State Road 62 or collectively as one parcel.

Landowners filed an action to remonstrate against an attempt by the city of Boonville to annex 1,165 acres of real estate located west of the city’s geographical limits. The city sought to dismiss, claiming the landowners didn’t satisfy the statutory requirements of I.C. 36-4-3-11(a). The case wound its way to the Indiana court of Appeals – where the judges ruled that separate parcels were not to be counted except as constituting the public highway – and back to the trial court. In 2011, the trial court dismissed the landowners’ action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

The landowners then appealed, asserting that the trial court, in calculating whether the 65 percent remonstrance threshold was satisfied, erroneously separately counted those parcels that had been acquired by the state and that now comprise State Road 62, thereby precluding the remonstrators from satisfying the threshold. The Court of Appeals reversed and held that the multiple parcels acquired by the state to build State Road 62 should be counted as a single parcel under the Remonstrance Statute.

The justices found this case to be distinguishable from the cases involving private owners of multiple parcels in Arnold v. City of Terre Haute, 725 N.E2d. 869 (Ind. 2000), and City of Fort Wayne v. Certain Northeast Annexation Area Landowners, 564 N.E.2d 297. (Ind. Ct. App. 1990).

“We hold that the land in this case, which comprises the portion of State Road 62 included in the annexed territory, should be considered and counted as a single parcel in determining whether the remonstrating Landowners comprise 65 percent of the owners of the annexed territory. We therefore reverse the decision of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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