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Supreme Court declines to set aside tax deed

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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.

 

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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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