Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana

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CitiMortgage, Inc. obtained a judgment of foreclosure against the family homestead of Homeowners - husband and wife. Homeowners attempted to appeal without legal representation. The Court of Appeals dismissed the attempted appeal with prejudice because of defects in Homeowners’ filings. Homeowners filed a petition to transfer, which the Supreme Court initially denied. On reconsideration, the Court vacated the order denying transfer and assumed jurisdiction over this appeal. The Court then affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that, under the facts presented in this case, the trial court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of CitiMortgage. View "McCullough v. CitiMortgage, Inc." on Justia Law

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The owner of real property executed a warranty deed to three grantees, two of whom (Husband and Wife) were married. A dozen years later, in a separate case, the circuit court entered a damages judgment against Husband and the third grantee (Underwood) and in favor of Underwood’s former employer (Demming). The Demming judgment subsequently became a lien on the property. Husband subsequently denied. Thereafter, Underwood brought this action seeking to partition and sell the property and distribute the proceeds, arguing that she, Husband, and Wife owned the property as tenants in common and that she no longer wanted to own the property in common with Wife and Husband’s Estate. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Estate and Demming. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Husband’s interest in the property passed directly to Wife upon his death and not to his Estate. The Supreme Court granted transfer and reversed, holding that Indiana’s legal presumption that spouses owning real property hold their interests as tenants by the entirety is rebutted on the record in this case because the deed conveying the property specifies that the tree grantees shall take the property “all as Tenants-in-Common.” Remanded. View "Underwood v. Bunger" on Justia Law

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In 2014, the Town of Fortville adopted an ordinance and resolution annexing 644 acres (the “Annexation Territory”) of land adjacent to the municipality. A number of landowners (“Remonstrators”) comprising ninety-three percent of the owners of parcels within the affected area filed a petition challenging the proposed annexation. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the Remonstrators and ordered that the annexation shall not take place, concluding that the Annexation Territory was not needed and could not be used by the municipality for its development in the reasonably near future. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court fulfilled its obligation to consider only whether the statutory conditions for annexation had been satisfied; and (2) the trial court did not clearly err in upholding the remonstrance and denying annexation because Fortville failed to demonstrate that the Annexation Territory was needed and could be used for Fortville’s development in the reasonably near future. View "Town of Fortville v. Certain Fortville Annexation Territory Landowners" on Justia Law

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After Tom Bonnell bought a strip of land from the Pulaski County Board of Commissioners, Ruby and Douglas Cotner filed this suit to quiet title, claiming that they had previously acquired ownership of a second of that land via adverse possession. The trial court (1) concluded that the prior sale of the strip by tax deed extinguished any interest the Cotners may have had, but (2) awarded the Cotners a prescriptive easement on certain outbuildings encroaching onto the strip. Both parties appealed. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the denial of the Cotners’ adverse possession claim, holding that the tax sales of the strip defeated the Cotners’ claim of ownership by adverse possession; but (2) reversed the grant of a prescriptive easement in the Cotners’ encroaching outbuildings, holding that the sale of the strip by tax deed extinguished any and all interest the Cotners previously possessed. View "Bonnell v. Cotner" on Justia Law