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Woman’s claim for reformation of deed fails

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A Vanderburgh County woman who filed a lawsuit for reformation of a deed 46 years after receiving the warranty deed lost her appeal of a trial court ruling in favor of neighboring property owners.

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the grant of partial summary judgment for Kent and Marjorie Powelson on Betty Angel’s claims for reformation of a deed and adverse possession. In 1964, Kent Powelson’s grandmother executed a warranty deed transferring 73 acres, “more or less,” to Angel and her husband. The Angels were also granted an easement for roadway purposes. The remaining 7 acres, “more or less,” were conveyed to Kent Powelson’s father in the 1970s, who later conveyed it to the Powelsons. The Powelsons also had an easement to the roadway.

After the Powelsons allowed a cell phone company to put a tower on their property, Angel sued the Powelsons in 2010, claiming, among other things, that the legal description of the property boundaries in her 1964 deed should be reformed because she was misinformed by Kent Powelson’s grandmother as to how much land she was receiving. Angel claimed that she only received 71.6 acres. She also claimed that she established ownership to the roadway through adverse possession.

Vanderburgh Superior Judge Robert Tornatta granted partial summary judgment on these two claims, finding the doctrine of laches bars Angel’s claim for reformation of the deed. Tornatta also found that the claim for adverse possession failed because her use of the roadway was not exclusive or hostile.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in Betty J. Angel v. Kent H. Powelson and Marjorie A. Powelson, 82A04-1205-PL-292, pointing to how long Angel waited to file her claim for reformation of the deed and that the deed was recorded and a matter of public record. Her failure to give heed to the “more or less” language in the deed does not defeat the application of laches, the judges held. In addition, the Powelsons were prejudiced by her delay in bringing the claim because witnesses such as Kent Powelson’s grandmother and father were deceased.

The judges also upheld the grant of summary judgment to the Powelsons on Angel’s claim of adverse possession of the roadway because she couldn’t show the elements of control and intent. Both Angel and the Powelsons were granted an easement to use the roadway and both used it for ingress and egress purposes.

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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