APPEAL FROM THE DE KALB SUPERIOR COURT, SMALL CLAIMS DIV., The Honorable Charles L. Quinn, Judge, The Honorable William R. Wible, Referee, Cause No. SC-86-66.
Garrard, P.j., Hoffman, J. and Ratliff, C.j., concur.
Ian Halliday appeals the trial court's judgment for Auburn Mobile Homes ordering Halliday to vacate the West Edge Mobile Home Park. We affirm.
In September 1985 Ian Halliday entered into a written lease agreement with Elsie Dickman who, with her husband Burtis, owned West Edge Mobile Home Park located in Auburn, Indiana.[Footnote 1] At that time Halliday was provided with a pamphlet containing park rules and regulations which included a provision prohibiting dogs in the park. This rule was also posted in the park itself. Despite this rule, Halliday, his son and the family dog moved their double-width mobile home into West Edge Mobile Home Park.
In January 1986 Burtis Dickman discovered that Halliday was keeping a dog in his mobile home. On January 15, 1985 Dickman gave Halliday a ten-day written notice to quit and thirteen days later instituted an action for ejectment in small claims court. Halliday then filed a motion to dismiss which the trial court later denied. The trial Judge found that Halliday had violated known park rules, acknowledged the difficult of moving his mobile home, but ordered him to vacate West Edge Mobile Home Park. Halliday appeals.
He presents the following issues:
I. Whether a mobile home park owner or operator must provide a 30-day notice to quit to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
II. Whether the trial court erred in denying Halliday's motion to dismiss.
III. Whether equity should preclude Halliday's ejectment.
At the outset, we note that no appellee's brief was filed in this case. When only the appellant files a brief on appeal, we may reverse the judgment below if the appellant makes a prima facie showing of reversible error. State v. Schuetter (1987), Ind. App., 503 N.E.2d 418; In re Custody of McGuire (1985), Ind. App., 487 N.E.2d 457. The purpose of this rule is not to benefit the appellant, but to relieve the court in proper circumstances of the task of converting the appellant's arguments and contentions, a burden which most appropriately rests upon the appellee. However, the court is vested with discretion to consider the appellant's contentions and decide the case on the merits even where the appellant has made the requisite showing of prima facie error. 3 Wiltrout, Indiana Practice, Section 2682 (1967). Where we can address the merits without the aid of an appellee's brief, we will do so. This is the case before us today.
Halliday initially argues that he was entitled to a thirty-day notice to quit pursuant to IC 32-7-1-3. From this he then reasons that he was given a defective notice with the ...