Justices to hear car dealer fee class action, clerk corruption case

The Indiana Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases last week, denying dozens of others including a child in need of services case that sparked division between the justices.

The state’s highest court first granted transfer in Gasbi, LLC d/b/a Michiana Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat v. Tatiyana Sanders, et. al, 19S-PL-431, in which a Mishawaka car dealership argued it was wrongly denied a motion to dismiss a class action complaint filed against it by several angry customers.

Tatiyana Sanders and others alleged they were each charged a document preparation fee that was neither disclosed nor negotiated by Michiana Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat when they purchased vehicles from the dealership. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in the customers’ favor, finding that their general allegations of uncured and incurable acts were adequate to withstand dismissal.

Transfer was also granted in Cathy Jo Robertson v. State of Indiana, 19S-PL-432, allowing a former Jennings County clerk’s bookkeeper to appeal the denial of her motion to dismiss a complaint alleging she diverted public funds for personal gain.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint to recover funds from Cathy Jo Robertson after results from a special investigation conducted by the Indiana State Board of Accounts in 2014 found that during her tenure, Robertson diverted more than $61,300 in public funds for her personal gain using a “checks substituted for cash” scheme.

Robertson filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(6), asserting the complaint had not been filed within the two-year statute of limitations because it had accrued between her time of employment from January 2009 to April 2011. However, the appellate court determined that the statute of limitations period did not begin to run until after the OAG received the final report and that its complaint was timely filed.

Forty-seven other cases were denied transfer, including In Re The Matter of: My.B. and M.Q., Children in Need of Services, M.B. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 18A-JC-2159, which left two members of the panel sharply divided from their fellow justices.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Steven David published a dissented from the majority in that case, arguing that transfer should have granted for a father whose two children were adjudicated as CHINS upon removal from their mother’s care. The dissenting justices argued that the Department of Child Services did not take advantage of an opportunity to “make things right” when they placed the children in foster care rather than in the care of their father, M.B., despite his willingness to parent them. David and Rush would have reversed, awarded custody to M.B and closed out the CHINS case.

The full list of cases granted or denied transfer for the week ending July 26 is available here.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}