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Vintage Corvette belongs to the last buyer

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Although a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette was the subject of litigation over ownership when it was purchased by a third party on eBay, the Indiana Court of Appeals has found the hotrod belongs to the eBay bidder.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment granted to Donald Gindelberger in James N. Brinkely and Stephanie L. Brinkley v. Michael Haluska, P.E., d/b/a Retro Tech, et al, 32A01-1204-MI-181. It found Gindelberger to be a good faith purchaser for value.

The Brinkleys bought the Corvette in 2005 and, in 2006, contracted with Michael Haluska to restore the car for $12,500 plus parts and additional expenses. However, the parties eventually had disagreement about Haluska’s work and the amount of money the Brinkleys still owed.

Mechanic’s Lien Plus, hired by Haluska, filed a lien on the vehicle and sent a certified notice to James Brinkley at his father’s residence which was the address listed on the title. The notice stated the vehicle would be sold at public auction in August 2009 if the charges of $7,400 were not paid.

Brinkley did not receive the notice of the sale.

At the August auction, Haluska purchased the vehicle for $100.

Then Mechanic’s Lien sent a second certified notice to Brinkley at his own address, informing him the car would be sold at public auction in November 2009 if he did not pay the charges.

On Nov. 20, 2009, the Brinkleys filed a complaint for injunctive relief against Haluska to bar the sale of the vehicle and to regain possession. That same day, Haluska filed an application for certificate of title with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and on Nov. 23, 2009, he was issued the certificate of title.

Haluska was served with the Brinkleys' complaint on Dec. 3, 2009, but he subsequently listed the car for sale on eBay. Gindelberger purchased the vehicle for $25,100 and received the certificate of title showing Haluska as the owner. Gindelberger did not examine the county court records prior to purchasing the vehicle.

After the trial court granted an injunction, ordering Haluska not to transfer title or deliver the signed title to the vehicle to any third party, the Brinkleys filed an amended complaint. They alleged Gindelberger was “not a bona fide purchaser for value without notice” because he had constructive notice of their lawsuit against Haluska.

The COA rejected that argument. It found there is no lis pendens notice for automobiles and there is no authority requiring Gindelberger to search pending litigation records prior to purchasing a vehicle.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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