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Title dispute leads to appellate reversal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a decision in favor of a title company, finding that the trial court must re-examine the case to decide if the two property owners have an action for negligent contract misrepresentation relating to a land easement dispute.

In Ronald E. Izynski and Linda Izynski v. Chicago Title Insurance Co., No. 45A04-1006-PL-277, the appellate court analyzed a contract dispute arising from a land ownership deal in 2003.
 
Ronald and Linda Izynski bought real estate in Porter County from Charles Ashton, and that property had a 50-foot easement that was publicly recorded but wasn’t reflected in multiple versions of a title commitment issued by Chicago Title Insurance Co. After the Izynskis learned about the easement and bought the property at a reduced price, they sued Chicago Title for breach of contract and negligence. But after a bench trial, the judge found in the title company’s favor.

The appellate panel found the trial court erred by finding the Izynskis were in contractual privity with Chicago Title because of the preliminary title and final policy issued. The trial court found that because Chicago Title and the Izynskis had a contract, no tort claim of negligent misrepresentation was available and they’re left with only contractual remedies. That was an error, the appellate panel determined, because Chicago Title had issued the title documentation to the owner the Izynskis bought the property from and the company didn’t actually have a contract with the Izynskis.

Chicago Title aruged the Izynskis had no breach of contract action because when they agreed to purchase the property, all versions of the title commitment had been issued to prospective buyer McLane and not to the Izynskis. It also argued the Izynskis have no tort remedy because they were in contractual privity with Chicago Title.

“Chicago Title cannot have it both ways,” wrote Judge Melissa May. “As we find there was no privity when the Izynskis agreed to buy the property, we remand for a determination whether the Izynskis have an action for negligent misrepresentation.”

The appellate panel also found the trial court erred in finding that mention of a previous easement from 1972 serves as notice for the 1979 easement at issue.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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