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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues