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Mobile Home Mgmt. Ind., LLC v. Avon Vill. MHP, LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 3, 2014

MOBILE HOME MANAGEMENT INDIANA, LLC, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
AVON VILLAGE MHP, LLC, Appellee-Plaintiff, STATE OF INDIANA BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES, TREASURER OF HENDRICKS COUNTY INDIANA, Appellees-Defendants

APPEAL FROM THE HENDRICKS SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Stephanie D. LeMay-Luken, Judge. Cause No. 32D05-1308-MI-171.

FOR APPELLANT: JAY P. KENNEDY, STEVEN E. RUNYAN, Kroger, Gardis & Regas, LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana.

FOR APPELLEE: ADAM S. MEARS, Mears Law, LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana; RYAN M. SPAHR, Spahr Law Office, LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ROBB, Judge. RILEY, J., and BRADFORD, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 276

ROBB, Judge

Case Summary and Issue

Mobile Home Management Indiana, LLC (" MHMI" ) appeals the trial court's summary judgment grant in favor of Avon Village MHP (" New Avon" ), awarding New Avon ownership and title to seventeen mobile homes obtained through an auction. MHMI appeals, raising four issues for our review, one of which we find dispositive: whether New Avon complied with the timing requirements of Indiana Code section 9-22-1.5-1 et seq. in acquiring several mobile homes through an auction process. Concluding New Avon did not comply with the statutes, we reverse and remand for judgment to be entered in favor of MHMI.

Page 277

Facts and Procedural History[1]

In 2010, Bank of America began the foreclosure process against Avon Village, Inc., Avon Village Investors, LLC, and Avon Home Leasing, LLC (" Avon Leasing" ) (collectively, " Old Avon" ). The foreclosed property was used as a mobile home park, and several mobile homes were on the property at the time of the foreclosure proceedings. Avon Leasing owned many of the disputed mobile homes at the time. Cocke, Finkelstein Inc. was appointed as receiver over the real estate. The real estate was sold at a sheriff's sale to Special Services Asset Management Company on August 2, 2011. New Avon then purchased the real estate from Special Services Asset Management on December 15, 2011. New Avon did not purchase the mobile homes that were on the real estate, and the foreclosure did not affect their ownership. In March and April of 2012, New Avon signed lot leases with tenants in seven mobile homes at issue in this case. The lot leases entitled the tenants to live in their respective mobile homes on the property; the agreements were not for the use of the mobile homes.

New Avon next acted to obtain ownership of the mobile homes. It searched bureau of motor vehicle records to identify recorded owners of the mobile homes, and then sent a notice by certified mail, with return receipt requested, (" First Notice" ) to Avon Leasing, the recorded owner of the disputed mobile homes, pursuant to Indiana Code section 9-22-1.5-3 dated May 29, 2012 and postmarked May 30. The notice read in part:

This letter is to advise you that the Manufactured Home described above will be considered abandoned and subject to sale by the undersigned if the home is not removed within thirty (30) days of the date of this notice.

Appendix at 218. Avon Leasing received the notices on or about June 4.

New Avon sent a second notice by certified mail, with return receipt requested, (" Second Notice" ) dated June 13 to Avon Leasing under Indiana Code section 9-22-1.5-4(2). The Second Notice read, in part:

This letter is to advise you that per the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles' records division, you are the current owner of record of a . . . manufactured home . . . currently residing . . . [at] Avon Village Mobile Home Park . . . Please be advised that this home is considered abandoned and must be removed by Thursday, June 28, 2012. If all past due charges are not paid and if the home is not removed by June 28, ...

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