Justices split 3-2 in rejecting landowner appeal over dam repairs

Residents of a Miami County lake community lost their bid to make their case to the Indiana Supreme Court that the county, not property owners, are responsible for fixing six crumbling dams.

Justices denied transfer in a 3-2 decision. Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Mark Massa departed from the majority and would have heard the appeal from residents of the Hidden Hills addition near Peru.

In April, an Indiana Court of Appeals panel reversed a trial court that had determined Miami County was responsible for fixing the dams in a long-simmering dispute between officials in the county about 70 miles north of Indianapolis and residents of the lake community. The Indiana Court of Appeals found the county was responsible only for the roads that crossed the tops of the dams’ embankments.

Massa and Rush dissented from the denial of transfer without opinion. The case is Miami County and Miami County Board of Commissioners v. Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Walter B. Woodhams and Dorothy Woodhams, et al., 19A-MI-2099.

The case was among  a dozen transfer petitions justices considered during the week ending Friday, granting none. The list of cases is available here. 

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