Landowner Issues

Dispute over Uptown Business Center in SoBro gets messier

August 7, 2013
Indianapolis Business Journal, Scott Olson
A months-long court feud over a retail building at the southwest corner of 49th Street and College Avenue in Indianapolis has become even more heated now that the owner has sought bankruptcy in an attempt to delay foreclosure on the structure.
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Doctrine of res judicata stops property owner’s motion

August 1, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A property owner’s attempt to file a separate action against a court-appointed receiver was derailed by the Indiana Court of Appeals under the doctrine of res judicata.
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COA orders court grant petition to set aside tax deed

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a trial court’s reasoning in denying a petition to set aside a tax deed that a county auditor was excused of the duties imposed under statute because compliance wouldn’t have resulted in a property owner actually receiving notice of a tax sale.
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Appeals court cites apparent authority to affirm auction sale

July 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
The sale of Noble County lake and farm property at auction is valid even though some siblings in a family limited liability corporation objected because reserve prices hadn’t been met, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in affirming the trial court.
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COA finds argument that documents were ambiguous is really ‘a failure to read’

July 16, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A real estate investor who argued that he should not be held personally liable because the loan documents were ambiguous was reminded by the Indiana Court of Appeals that “a failure to read does not equate with an ambiguity….” 
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Judges uphold sale of properties in tax sale

July 3, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a property owner’s motion for relief from judgment after his two parcels were sold in a Marion County tax sale. The man argued the notices sent by officials didn’t comply with statutory requirements and he was denied due process.
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Refusal to remove biased board member ends potential administrative remedies

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After finding that the exhaustion of administrative remedies was excused for a company seeking to operate a stone quarry because a drainage board member was biased against the project, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the trial court acquired subject matter jurisdiction and properly denied the board member’s motion to dismiss.
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Supreme Court kicks ‘buyer beware’ vs. disclosure case back to trial court

June 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Lake County dispute over whether a buyer or seller is responsible for a few thousand dollars worth of home defects is headed back to the trial court after a divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a legal do-over.
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COA affirms trial court dismissal of judicial review but differs on reasoning

June 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An Allen Superior judge’s determination that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear a zoning issue, thus requiring dismissal, was erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But the judges affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the case because of a lack of supporting materials and a late request for a filing deadline extension.
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COA rules in favor of tax sale bidder in dispute over property

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that tax deeds be reinstated and reversed summary judgment and a decree of foreclosure in favor of a bank in a combined appeal over foreclosed property in Elkhart County.
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Grandchildren not entitled to proceeds of land sale under will

June 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Monroe Circuit judge did not err in denying a motion by three grandchildren to correct errors in which they claimed that they, instead of their grandmother’s second husband, should have received the proceeds of the sale of land in Bloomington. The Indiana Court of Appeals held the Bloomington residence was adeemed by extinction, so the proceeds of the sale pass to Cora Young’s second husband, Theodore.
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COA rules for first time on retroactivity of Mineral Lapse Act

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a portion of the Mineral Lapse Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the 20-year period immediately proceeding the Sept. 2, 1971, effective date of the Act.
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Justices rule in favor of Vincennes Girl Scouts in dispute over camp

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Code 32-17-10-2 is unconstitutional as applied retroactively to a land-use restriction in a Vincennes Girl Scout organization’s deed requiring an Illinois Girl Scout group to use deeded land as a camp for 49 years.
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Mobile home park's occupancy rate not enough to reduce property assessment

May 6, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A low occupancy rate alone did not provide the owner of a mobile home community with the evidence it needed to get its property assessment reduced.
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Tax court rules that evidence, not conclusory statements, needed to make prima facie case

April 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A doubled property value will stand because the property owner did not offer any market-based evidence when challenging the new assessed value, the Indiana Tax Court has ruled.
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Judges affirm dismissal of city’s counterclaim without prejudice

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a dismissal based on the failure to provide an appraisal with an offer to purchase property for road work improvements was not an adjudication on the merits, allowing a city’s counterclaim for appropriation of the property to be dismissed without prejudice.
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Right to Farm Act bars CAFO nuisance claim, appeals court rules

April 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Gibson County farmer may not bring a nuisance claim against a neighboring dairy that dramatically expanded its operations to what he called a “factory-like ‘mega-farm,’” the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Suspended attorney stripped of quiet title to foreclosed home he repaired

April 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
A suspended Gary attorney who was awarded a quiet title to an abandoned, foreclosed property after he entered a house without authorization and began to maintain it was stripped of the title Tuesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Workers’ comp, JTAC bills pass full Senate

April 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Legislation out of the House of Representatives reconfiguring workers’ compensation in Indiana passed the Senate Wednesday and goes back to the House with some changes.
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Roche owes Marsh Supermarkets $18M for breaking sublease

April 1, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld judgment Monday in favor of Marsh Supermarkets LLC on its complaint alleging that Roche breached a contract to sublease space in the Fishers building that houses Marsh’s headquarters.
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7th Circuit rules against homeowners on quiet title action

March 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Hamilton County couple who went into default on their home mortgage loan had the dismissal of their action to quiet title and claims of negligence and unconscionability upheld Friday by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Gerdt Furniture owners embroiled in $4M court fight

March 14, 2013
Scott Olson
A family dispute involving the owners of Gerdt Furniture & Interiors Inc. has led to a lawsuit accusing them of owing nearly $4 million in unpaid rent and loans.
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Ruling: Easement to Eagle Creek indeed leads to water

March 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court ruling that forbid residents of a lakefront subdivision from accessing the water from a public easement was overturned Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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DTCI: Premises liability for the criminal acts of others

February 13, 2013
From DTCI
Indiana premises liability jurisprudence may be changing. If it does, being a business owner in Indiana will be increasingly risky. Not a risk premised on how good the business person may be, but premised on whether a crime will occur at the business and harm a customer, visitor or guest.
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7th Circuit affirms District Court in long-running nursing home litigation

February 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
More than a decade’s worth of litigation was tied up in a 21-page opinion from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, which affirmed decisions in favor of a landowner against the owners of a nursing home lessee.
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  4. 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.

  5. 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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