Landowner Issues

Arguments set in Lake Michigan lakeshore rights case

July 10, 2017
IL Staff
Oral arguments in a case that could establish caselaw on a dispute between public and private claims to the shore of Lake Michigan will be heard Sept. 28.
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COA reverses dismissal of review of uninhabitable property order

July 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
A Hammond man’s petition for judicial review of an order to repair or remove an apartment in a building he owns will return to the trial court after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the Lake Superior Court erred in dismissing the case.
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COA: Credit union did not have property right to flow of traffic on US 31

July 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
A federal credit union with a branch located in northern Indiana did not have a cognizable property right to the flow of traffic on U.S. 31 past its property and, thus, cannot claim the Indiana Department of Transportation committed inverse condemnation by refiguring that stretch of road, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Justices take up Lake Michigan shore property rights case

June 26, 2017
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether the beach of Lake Michigan belongs to the public or to private property owners along the shoreline.
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Desire for second boat lift not enough to override prior orders

June 13, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals swatted away an appeal of a dispute between pier owners, finding previous trial court orders resulting from more than 26 years of litigation over access to a lake clearly stated when a pier’s location can be changed.
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Long Beach seawall dispute goes back to boards

May 30, 2017
A complaint brought by Indiana residents seeking to build seawalls along their lakefront property will not proceed after the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Tuesday the residents must first exhaust their administrative remedies before litigating their complaint.
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Salvation Army sues neighboring Children’s Museum over expansion

May 25, 2017
Indianapolis Business Journal, Scott Olson
The Salvation Army is suing the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, claiming its neighbor’s $35 million outdoor expansion project intrudes on its easements and restricts its access to Illinois Street.
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Appeals court reinstates grant of petition to relocate easement

May 25, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Town of Ellettsville Plan Commission can move forward with its plan to grant a petition to move an easement after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday the man who owns the easement did not prove the petition was unreasonable.
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COA reinstates Madison City Council rezoning denial

May 23, 2017
Olivia Covington
A decision by the Madison City Council to deny a local couple’s request to rezone a property was not arbitrary and capricious and, thus, must be reinstated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA affirms summary judgment to parents in family land dispute

May 4, 2017
Olivia Covington
After a yearslong dispute between northern Indiana parents and their daughter and son-in-law, the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment to the parents, finding that a real estate contract between the two couples was unenforceable.
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Questions exist as to whether Clarksville home violates neighborhood covenants

April 18, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
Summary judgment was prematurely granted to a Clarksville homeowner sued by his neighbors for allegedly violating the neighborhood’s restrictive covenants, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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COA: Parties stipulation shows easement is necessary

April 18, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
In a dispute between neighbors, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a private property owner had to allow part of his land to be used to give access to a tract of land owned by a business.
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Indianapolis officials, landowner lock horns over Brightwood library branch plan

April 5, 2017
Dave Stafford
Thousands each day drive past a sign on Sherman Avenue near 25th Street in Indianapolis bearing an unequivocal statement of Sheena Schmidt’s sentiments and an irritant for some city officials — a billboard-like placard that reads, “Say no to eminent domain.”
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Supreme Court seems divided in property-rights dispute

March 20, 2017
 Associated Press
A divided U.S. Supreme Court struggled Monday over a property rights dispute that could make it tougher for state and local governments to limit development in coastal areas.
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Indiana considers prohibiting cities from banning Airbnb

March 20, 2017
 Associated Press
Indiana cities and towns wouldn’t be allowed to restrict companies such as Airbnb under a proposal state lawmakers are considering as they wade into the parochial matters of property rights and zoning disputes.
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7th Circuit rules for CSX in landowner suit

March 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a Roachdale couple’s claims against CSX Transportation Company after finding that CSX has not lost its easement to a portion of its railroad track adjacent to the couple’s property.
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COA denies rehearing in Lake Michigan public trust case

March 10, 2017
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals won’t rehear its Dec. 7 decision finding that the public trust doctrine controls the shore of Lake Michigan between the ordinary high- and low-water marks, allowing people to walk the shore.
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Justices remand Bloomington property partition dispute

March 6, 2017
Olivia Covington
A woman’s case to partition and sell a Bloomington property will continue after the Indiana Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s finding that the husband and wife with whom the woman purchased the property were not tenants by the entireties of the property.
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COA: Adverse possession gives farm owner title to Boone Co. property

February 28, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a farm owner is the legal title holder of a disputed 61-foot-wide portion of a Boone County property, holding that the doctrine of adverse possession gives him the title.
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COA: All properties in stormwater district contribute to stormwater system

February 15, 2017
Olivia Covington
All property owners within a stormwater district “contribute to” the stormwater system, regardless of whether the property drains into the system, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday in a case that forces property owners in Richmond to pay a stormwater fee.
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Owners of flooded house lose appeal in suit against Valparaiso

January 3, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
A couple whose home near a water retention and detention facility was flooded in 2008 when the city of Valparaiso experienced a 200-year storm are not able to assert a private cause of action under Indiana’s Flood Control Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday.
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COA holds public trust rights rule along lakeshore

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
When a private property owner’s land deed overlaps with that of the public trust along Lake Michigan, the rights to the shore are controlled by the common law public trust doctrine, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday in a landmark decision that prevents private property owners from exerting complete control over lakeshore land between ordinary high- and low-water marks.
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Lake Michigan private, public land rights clash before COA

September 21, 2016
Dave Stafford
Long Beach, Indiana, is at the center of a landmark dispute between public access and private property rights to the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan.
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COA orders couple to pay fees to lot owner’s association

September 13, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a couple to pay a Bartholomew County lot owner’s association $6,000 in assessment fees despite the couple’s claim that they are not members of the association.
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Pokemon goes to court in backyard monster trespassing case

August 3, 2016
 Bloomberg News
A New Jersey resident with a pocket monster in his backyard filed what may be the first lawsuit against Niantic Inc. and Nintendo Co. for unleashing Pokemon Go across the U.S., claiming that players are coming to his home uninvited in their race to “catch ’em all.”
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  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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