A challenge to a foreclosure judgment against a bank that was reinstated by a divided Court of Appeals panel will be heard by the Indiana Supreme Court. Justices granted transfer in two mortgage foreclosure cases last week.
In the first case, a majority of the appeals panel reversed a trial court judgment against Huntington National Bank. The bank had filed an untimely response because the person responsible for responding to a lawsuit was on maternity leave, and the response came nearly three weeks late.
“Finding that Huntington has established that it was entitled to relief from the default judgment by demonstrating excusable neglect and a meritorious defense, we conclude the trial court abused its discretion in denying Huntington’s Trial Rule 60(B)(1) motion to set aside the default judgment,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the majority, joined by Judge Cale Bradford.
But Judge Michael Barnes dissented and would defer to the trial court’s discretion. “One employee’s maternity leave is not such a circumstance and should not be used as an excuse for delaying judicial proceedings beyond the clear deadlines set by our Trial Rules, especially where a large and sophisticated party such as Huntington is concerned,” he wrote.