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Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. v. United Equipment Leasing, LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 3, 2014

CELADON TRUCKING SERVICES, INC., a/k/a CELADON TRUCKING SERVICES OF INDIANA, Appellant-Defendant
v.
UNITED EQUIPMENT LEASING, LLC, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE HANCOCK CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Richard D. Culver, Judge. Cause No. 30C01-1203-CC-0514.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT F. WAGNER, ROBERT R. FOOS, Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: ERIC S. PAVLACK, COLIN E. FLORA, Pavlack Law, LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana.

FRIEDLANDER, Judge. MATHIAS, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 92

FRIEDLANDER, Judge

Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. (Celadon) appeals from the trial court's grant of United Equipment Leasing's (United) Motion for Relief from the Court's May 31, 2012 Order. On appeal, Celadon presents three issues for our review, which we consolidate and restate as: Did the trial court err in granting United's request for relief?

We affirm.

On February 8, 2012, United purchased 119 transport trailers from Teton Transportation, Inc. (Teton), a Tennessee trucking company.[1] United and Teton immediately executed a Trailer Sublease Agreement (Sublease Agreement), which provided that United, through an affiliated company, would lease the 119 trailers back to Teton. United never took possession of the trailers after the purchase or before executing the Sublease Agreement. The trailers were located at Teton's customer's facilities, attached to Teton's tractors, or parked in various Teton drop lots or at their truck yard in Knoxville, Tennessee. United never received an itemization from Teton as to the locations of the trailers United purchased.

Page 93

On February 27, 2012, Teton sold substantially all of its assets to Celadon.[2] Two days later, United terminated the Sublease Agreement with Teton and demanded that Teton " deliver the trailers to the point where the trailers were originally received or to such other location designated by [United]" as Teton was obligated to do pursuant to the terms of the Sublease Agreement. Appellant's Appendix at 177. Teton did not comply with this provision.

United then made similar demands to Celadon in its efforts to locate its trailers. Although Celadon has no contractual obligation to return the trailers to United, Celadon nevertheless provided United with three options concerning the trailers: (1) United could enter into a marshaling agreement whereby it would pay a fee to Celadon to return the trailers to Indianapolis; (2) Celadon could purchase the trailers from United and then Celadon would be responsible for locating the trailers; or (3) Celadon would leave the trailers where they were currently located and it would be United's responsibility to locate and then coordinate the return of the trailers to United's facility. On March 1, 2012, United requested Celadon compile a list of the trailer locations. Approximately three days later, Celadon provided a list of the trailer locations based on information it had received from Teton. Celadon was unable to verify the location of a large portion of the trailers.

On March 12, 2012, United filed its Complaint for Replevin of Property, Damages for Conversion, Recovery of Treble Damages under the Indiana Crime Victims Act, Quantum Meruit and Unjust Enrichment against Celadon. Contemporaneously therewith, United filed a Motion for Order Requiring Defendant to Appear at Hearing on Replevin and Prejudgment Attachment in which United requested the trial court consolidate the preliminary and final hearings such that the hearing would be a final hearing on the matter. The trial court issued an order setting a hearing for March 28 and ordering that the hearing would be " a final hearing on [United's] entitlement to possession of the Collateral." Appellant's Appendix at 31. After a continuance, a hearing was finally held on April 26, 2012.

During the April 26 hearing, Celadon did not dispute that United is the owner of the 119 trailers. Celadon claimed that it had only touched or moved nineteen of United's trailers and that was because they were attached to Teton's tractors when Celadon finalized the asset purchase agreement with Teton. Celadon ...


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