COA orders trial court to rule on motion to set aside tax deed

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Because a man’s appeal of the issuance of a tax deed was improperly before the Indiana Court of Appeals, the court dismissed the appeal without prejudice and told the trial court to rule on his motion to set aside.

Lori Born purchased a Gary, Indiana, property at a tax sale. She sent notice to the owner of record, which included Robert M. Holland III. Holland filed a motion to set aside the tax sale and tax deed – but he did so under a prior year’s tax sale, referred to as Cause No. 98 in the court record.

But Born’s purchase continued under Cause No. 115, and she was eventually granted the tax deed. Holland continued to erroneously file his motions under Cause No. 98.

Before the trial court could rule on his motion to correct errors and set aside, Holland filed his notice of appeal. Based on that notice of appeal, the trial court determined it lacked jurisdiction to rule on Holland’s outstanding motions.

“Holland properly appealed the issuance of a tax deed by timely filing his 60(B) Motion to Set Aside with the trial court. Nevertheless, because he did not obtain a ruling on his Motion, we find that Holland’s appeal is improperly before our court,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote in Robert Holland v. Lake County Treasurer John Patelas, 45A03-1308-MI-346.

“Without a 60(B) ruling from either the trial court or a special judge, Holland has failed to present a reviewable issue for our court. Nonetheless, it would not serve the interests of justice to hold Holland accountable for the trial court’s mistaken assumption regarding its jurisdiction.”


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