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Northern Indiana Public Service Co. v. Sloan

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 17, 2014

NORTHERN INDIANA PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
EDWARD A. SLOAN, DASHAWN L. COLE, Appellees-Defendants

Page 761

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 762

APPEAL fro THE LAKE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Sheila M. Moss, Judge.The Honorable Kathleen M. Belzeski, Magistrate. Cause No. 45D08-0710-SC-5732.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: EDWARD P. GRIMMER, DANIEL A. GOHDES, Edward P. Grimmer, P.C., Crown Point, Indiana.

BARNES, Judge. ROBB, J., and BROWN, J., concur.

OPINION

BARNES, Judge.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company ("NIPSCO") appeals the trial court's

Page 763

orders reinstating the driving privileges of Edward Sloan and Dashawn Cole (collectively "the Appellees"). We affirm.

Issues

NIPSCO raises three issues, which we restate as:

I. whether the trial court properly interpreted Indiana Code Section 9-25-6-6;

II. whether equity required denial of the Appellees' requests for the reinstatement of their driving privileges; and

III. whether the trial court properly considered the Bureau of Motor Vehicle's procedures when ruling on this case.

Facts

In 2009, NIPSCO filed a small claims complaint against Sloan alleging that he damaged NIPSCO's property in a car accident, causing $435.07 in damages. NIPSCO was awarded treble damages in the amount of $1,305.21, attorney fees in the amount of $1,500.00, and costs. On December 23, 2012, Sloan's driving privileges were suspended because of his failure to satisfy the judgment. On February 4, 2013, Sloan filed a letter with the trial court requesting that an installment payment plan be worked out, and this letter was forwarded to NIPSCO. On March 5, 2013, Sloan filed another letter requesting a hearing on the matter. This letter was also forwarded to NIPSCO. A hearing was held on May 14, 2013, at which NIPSCO objected to the reinstatement of Sloan's driving privileges.[1] On June 10, 2013, the trial court issued an order reinstating Sloan's driving privileges. The trial court ordered Sloan to comply with all of the provisions of Indiana Code 9-25-6-6, including providing proof of financial responsibility for the next three years to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles ("BMV"), the trial court, and NIPSCO, and to pay $50 per month until the judgment was paid in full or until further order of the court.

Similarly, in 2007, NIPSCO and Cole entered into an agreed judgment in the amount of $4,765.83 plus costs and, on January 13, 2009, Cole's driving privileges were suspended for failing to pay the judgment. On April 2, 2013, Cole requested a hearing on the reinstatement of his driving privileges, and a hearing was held on April 9, 2013. NIPSCO attended the hearing and objected to the reinstatement of Cole's driving privileges. On June 10, 2013, the trial court issued an order reinstating Cole's driving privileges. The trial court ordered Cole to comply with all of the provisions of Indiana Code 9-25-6-6, including providing proof of financial responsibility for the next three years to the BMV, the trial court, and NIPSCO, and to pay $50 per month until the judgment was paid in full or until further order of the court. NIPSCO appealed the reinstatement of the Appellees' driving privileges, and the cases were consolidated on NIPSCO's motion.

Analysis

As an initial matter, neither Sloan nor Cole has filed an appellee's brief. Under these circumstances, we do not undertake to develop the Appellees' arguments. Morton v. Ivacic,898 N.E.2d 1196, 1199 (Ind. 2008). Instead, we may reverse upon NIPSCO's prima facie showing of ...


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