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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ind. Decisions - One today from Supreme Court

In M & M Investment Group, LLC v. Ahlemeyer Farms, Inc. and Monroe Bank, a 24-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice David writes:

Before a parcel of real property can be sold at a tax sale, the Indiana Code requires the county auditor to mail notice of the pending sale to any mortgagee holding a mortgage on the property—provided, however, that the mortgagee has first affirmatively requested such notice by submitting a form to the auditor. Is such a procedure permissible under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment? The answer, we said over two decades ago, is “Yes.”

But in this case a bank failed to submit the required form to the Bartholomew County auditor and therefore was not notified that one of its mortgaged properties was tax-delinquent until after the property had been sold and the buyer requested a tax deed. The bank objected, challenging the constitutionality of this statutory scheme in light of a more recent case from the U.S. Supreme Court. The trial court below agreed with the bank and refused to issue the tax deed, but we remain firm that the answer to the constitutional question is still “Yes,” and therefore reverse. * * *

The requirement found in Indiana Code § 6-1.1-24-3(b), that a mortgagee annually request, by certified mail, a copy of notice that a parcel of real property is eligible for sale under the tax sale statutes, does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. We therefore reverse the trial court and remand.

ILB: Be sure to read footnote 12, beginning on p. 23.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 26, 2013 09:45 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions