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Man gets partial win on appeal, still must pay for damaging woman’s home

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The man who purchased 2.28 acres of land in a foreclosure sale must pay for the damage he caused by taking the law into his own hands in trying to evict a woman living in a mobile home on the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But, the court reversed summary judgment in favor of the woman on adverse possession, prescriptive easement and trespass claims.

Jewell Reuter had a mobile home on a small portion of her family’s land for more than 20 years. She tended the land and installed a septic system and water lines to access a nearby well. But the land was never deeded to her. When Larry Flick purchased 2.28 acres of the family land in a foreclosure sale, nearly all of Reuter’s land, part of her septic system and the well she used were included in the portion of the land.

He tried to drive Reuter out by severing the water lines access her well, destroying her plants with a large rotary mower, and by erecting an electric fence around the home.

The trial court ruled in favor of Reuter on her adverse possession and prescriptive easement claims and awarded $29,487.70 in damages against Flick.

“Although we ultimately conclude that Reuter’s adverse-possession and prescriptive-easement claims fail, we affirm the trial court’s $29,487.70 judgment against Flick for damages he caused by attempting to eject Reuter without court authorization,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in Larry Edward Flick v. Jewell Reuter, 47A01-1303-PL-135. “Indiana Code section 32-30-2-1 provides that a person having a valid interest in real property and a right to the possession of that property may recover it and take possession by bringing an action against a person claiming the title or interest in the real property. Flick disregarded the statute and engaged in unconscionable self-help; he must pay for the damage he caused by taking the law into his own hands.”

In reversing the trial court, the COA found that Reuter did not prove her payment of required taxes in order to succeed on her adverse possession claim. She was only able to show, at best, that she paid taxes on her mobile home from 2006 to 2010. She was never able to show that she paid taxes on the land, which she said she had paid since 1988 and included the land and her home.

On her prescriptive easement claim, Reuter was unable to produce evidence that she had communicated with the previous owners for permission to live on the land. They let her live on the land because she was family, and the circumstances of her use before Flick’s arrival show that her use was permissive, Vaidik wrote.

The COA also denied her request for appellate attorney fees.

 

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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