Appellate court affirms denial of Georgia bank’s motion for dismissal in garnishment case

A Georgia-based bank waived its right to claim the Marion Superior Court lacked personal jurisdiction over a garnishment case after it placed a hold on a bank account and responded to interrogatories without objection, the Court of Appeals of Indiana has affirmed.

In December 2020, Automotive Finance Corporation filed a motion for proceedings supplemental in Marion Superior Court to collect on a judgment it had obtained against Sheryl Turkia in 2014.

The trial court ordered Turkia to appear in court via Zoom in February. Also, the court issued a notice of garnishment proceedings, summons and order to answer interrogatories, notice of hearing and interrogatories to Liberty First Bank, which is in Georgia. Turkia was believed to have deposit accounts with Liberty.

The notice and order provided, “[AFC] has an unpaid judgment against [Turkia] on which there is due the principal sum of $79,168.61, post judgment interest of $36,612.77, costs of $315.00, for a total unpaid judgment of $116,096.38. The garnishee, LIBERTY FIRST BANK, is now ordered to answer under oath the interrogatories set forth below or attached in writing within 30 days after service, or, at your option, appear in Court virtually via ZOOM, and answer the interrogatories at the hearing.”

The court also ordered the garnishee “to place a 90-day hold on any deposit accounts in which [Turkia] has an interest, either individually or jointly with another person.”

In January, Liberty filed its responses to the interrogatories with the trial court without objecting to personal jurisdiction. Turkia had deposit accounts at the bank with balances totaling $239,342.60, and Liberty placed a hold on her accounts as required by the notice and order.

On March 2, the trial court issued an order finding it had personal jurisdiction over Liberty “based on the Garnishee’s filing responses to Interrogatories without objecting to the jurisdiction of the Court.” The court then ordered Liberty to pay from Turkia’s deposit accounts the amount of the judgment against Turkia — now $116,566.54 — to AFC.

More than two months later, Liberty appeared by counsel and filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion.

Citing Allstate Ins. Co. v. Morrison, 146 Ind. App. 497, 256 N.E.2d 918, 922 (1970), reh’g denied, and In re Paternity of T.M.Y., 725 N.E.2d 997, 1003 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), the COA affirmed Liberty waived its claim that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction when it complied with the notice and order by filing its responses to the interrogatories with the trial court without challenging personal jurisdiction and by placing a hold on Turkia’s accounts.

The case is Liberty First Bank v. Automotive Finance Corporation d/b/a AFC Automotive Finance Corporation d/b/a AFC, 21A-CC-1462.

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