ILNews

Justices take question on salvage statute

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The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted a certified question from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals about a statute on salvage titles that the federal court deemed ambiguous.

The high court accepted the certified question Jan. 21, which stems from the case Larry D. Storie v. Randy's Auto Sales, LLC, et al., No. 94S00-0912-CQ-559. The 7th Circuit sent the question: Whether an entity that purchases and later sells a wrecked vehicle is required to apply for a salvage title under Indiana Code Section 9-22-3-11(e) when it no longer owns the vehicle upon receipt of the certificate of title.

The issue arose when Larry Storie sued Randy's Auto Sales and St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. in federal court after he found out a truck he purchased had been involved in a fatal accident. St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co., the insurer of the truck, applied for a title as proof of ownership but didn't apply for a salvage title. The truck was sold several times - including by Randy's in Indiana - before St. Paul finally received the title. Storie purchased the truck from a truck center in Missouri. When Randy's received the title from St. Paul, it forwarded it on to the purchaser of the truck, which made its way to Storie.

Storie sued because he believed Randy's violated I.C. Section 9-22-3-11(e), which says "Any other person acquiring a wrecked or damaged motor vehicle ... which acquisition is not evidenced by a certificate of salvage title, shall apply to the bureau within thirty-one (31) days after receipt of the certificate of title for a certificate of salvage title."

The District judge granted summary judgment for Randy's Auto Sales, but on appeal, the Circuit Court determined the statute in question is ambiguous and since there is no controlling Indiana precedent on the case, certified the question to the Indiana Supreme Court Dec. 17.

The justices noted in the order they would rely on the briefs and other documents already filed with or issued by the 7th Circuit but allowed the parties until Feb. 3 to file an additional brief in response to the appellate opinion.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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