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Monday, May 16, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 2 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In BSA Construction LLC v. Jimmie E. Johnson, a 13-page opinion, Judge Bailey writes:

BSA Construction, LLC (“BSA”) entered into an agreement to sell residential real estate to Lilia Lopez (“Lopez”). Lopez obtained financing from Bank of America (“the Bank”), pending the Bank’s final approval upon appraisal of the property. The Bank contracted with LandSafe, an appraisal agency, which in turn retained Jimmie E. Johnson (“Johnson”) to conduct the appraisal. Based upon Johnson’s appraisal, the Bank refused to extend financing. BSA sued Johnson, alleging negligence, fraud, and slander of title. Johnson sought summary judgment on all of BSA’s claims, and the trial court granted the motion. BSA now appeals. We affirm. * * *

LandSafe retained Johnson to perform the appraisal of the property. Johnson appraised the real estate at a value of $50,000, $10,000 less than the agreed-upon sale price. As a result of the appraisal, the Bank declined to extend Lopez financing to purchase the property. * * *

On September 26, 2011, BSA filed suit against Johnson in Hendricks County, articulating theories of relief based in negligence of a professional to a third party, fraud, slander of title, and statutory causes of action for deceptive practices associated with a home loan transaction. Johnson sought a change of venue, and by the parties’ stipulation the case was transferred to Marion County on March 14, 2012. * * *

[Negligence] Johnson’s duty was to the Bank and as a matter of law cannot—because of the contradictory interests at issue—have extended to BSA. And because Johnson had no duty of care toward BSA, BSA had no basis upon which to rely on Johnson’s opinion. * * *

[Fraud] Nevertheless, BSA insists that it was defrauded, advancing an upside-down theory of fraud. Rather than fraud resulting from action taken in reliance upon representations already made, BSA suggests that the purportedly fraudulent representation may come after reliance—in this case, entering into the sales agreement—has already occurred. We thus decline to adopt the approach BSA suggests. * * *

[Slander of title] Here, BSA has not made an allegation that Johnson impugned BSA’s claim of title to the real estate. Further, the undisputed facts show that Johnson concluded that the real estate had a value different from that which BSA sought to obtain in a sale. This is not, however, the same as making a statement concerning the very fact of BSA’s ownership; it is the fact of ownership that the tort of slander of title protects, not the monetary value per se of the ownership interest. We accordingly find no error in the trial court’s conclusions concerning BSA’s claim of slander of title.

Conclusion. The trial court did not err when it granted summary judgment to Johnson on BSA’s claims for negligence, fraud, and slander of title.

NFP civil decisions today (1):

In the matter of Se.G. and So.G.: R.N. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

Sheila Taylor v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 16, 2016 11:26 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions