ILNews

Supreme Court declines to set aside tax deed

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a trial court’s decision to set aside a tax deed, finding the Marion County auditor’s office satisfied the due process requirement articulated by the United States Supreme Court.

Sawmill Creek LLC, a Wyoming entity, purchased four acres of unimproved land on Rockville Road in Marion County. The closing statement, general warranty deed and the title insurance policy named the purchaser as “Saw Creek Investments LLC.” Bill Simpson, the manager of Sawmill Creek, didn’t notice the error. When Simpson moved his office from a Dandy Trail address to a location in Brownsburg, he stopped receiving tax bills on the property and became delinquent. The auditor tried sending notices of the sale to the Dandy Trail address through first class mail, but they came back as undeliverable and unable to forward. The auditor even sent notices to the previous owner, which also came back undeliverable. A title search didn’t reveal the new address of Sawmill Creek because the title company was using the incorrect name.

The property was sold at tax sale to McCord Investments. It wasn’t until an acquaintance of Simpson saw “for sale” signs posted on the property did Simpson learn of the tax sale. He filed a motion to set aside, which the trial court granted.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, but a majority of justices reversed, finding the auditor’s office did what it could to attempt to notify Simpson and Sawmill Creek of the sale. The majority cited Mullane v. Cent. Hanover Bank & Trust, 339 U.S. 306, 313, 70 S. Ct. 652, 656–57, 94 L. Ed. 865, 873 (1950), Jones v. Flowers, 547 U.S. 220, 126 S. Ct. 1708, 164 L. Ed.2d 415 (2006), and Dusenberry v. United States, 534 U.S. 161, 122 S. Ct. 694m 151 L.Ed.2d 597 (2002).

In Marion County Auditor, and McCord Investments, LLC v. Sawmill Creek, LLC a/k/a Saw Creek Investments, LLC, No. 49S02-1106-CV-364, the majority also rejected Sawmill’s argument that notice must be posted on the property when the owner of record can’t be located through any reasonable means.

Justice Robert Rucker dissented, writing he agreed with the decision by the Court of Appeals.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

ADVERTISEMENT