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Man unable to prevent settlement agreement

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The man who wanted to purchase a divorcing couple’s farm lacked a present interest in the real estate and couldn’t prevent a settlement agreement between the couple, which led to the husband keeping the farm, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

In Joseph Meizelis v. Dana Durbin and Debra Durbin, 70A01-1112-DR-598, the appellate court affirmed Rush Circuit Special Judge Daniel Lee Pflum’s denial of Joseph Meizelis’ motion for relief from the agreed judgment between Dana and Debra Durbin on grounds he hadn’t been given notice of the agreement. Meizelis also had filed a lis pendens notice after the Durbins entered into the settlement agreement.

The couple was divorcing, and Meizelis offered to buy the farm. He was even permitted to intervene in the dissolution action. In a March 23, 2011, order, the trial court determined Dana Durbin could keep the farm property if he met certain financial obligations; if not, he could sell it to Meizelis. Dana Durbin filed a motion to correct error, and he and Debra Durbin reached a settlement agreement during the pendency of that motion.

The agreement was similar to the court order, but it did relax some of the obligations Dana Durbin had to meet if he wanted to keep the farm.

Meizelis argued that the agreed entry was void because it had been entered without his knowledge or consent. The trial court found that Meizelis had no present interest in the real estate and his lis pendens notice will be stricken, depending on the outcome of this appeal.

But the Court of Appeals upheld Pflum’s ruling, finding that Meizelis merely made an offer to purchase, but the Durbins never accepted it.

“Meizelis’s position appears to be that his interest arises from the fact that the trial court ordered Dana to sell to him if he could not meet certain financial obligations, but at no point was Meizelis under an affirmative obligation to do anything; the court’s orders were addressed to Dana, not Meizelis,” Judge Terry Crone wrote.

Meizelis could not prevent the Durbins from entering into a settlement agreement regarding the distribution of their property, he continued. The judges sent the case back with instructions to strike the lis pendends notice upon certification of the appellate opinion.

 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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