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Old Nat'l Bancorp v. Hanover College

Supreme Court of Indiana

September 3, 2014

OLD NATIONAL BANCORP d/b/a OLD NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, Appellant (Respondent below),
v.
HANOVER COLLEGE, Appellee (Petitioner below)

Appeal from the Randolph Circuit Court, Nos. 68C01-1110-TR-116, 68C01-1110-TR-117. The Honorable Jay L. Toney, Judge. On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 68A05-1303-TR-111.

FOR APPELLANT: Mark J. Merkle, Joshua D. Hague, Carmel, Indiana; Libby Y. Goodknight, Indianapolis, Indiana.

FOR APPELLEE: Brian J. Paul, Nathaniel M. Uhl, Indianapolis, Indiana.

David, Justice. Rush, C.J., Dickson, Rucker, and Massa, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 575

David, Justice..

A trustee appealed a trial court's termination of two of its trusts. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for a lack of jurisdiction. Because we find the trustee lacked standing to appeal in its representative capacity and did not appeal in its individual capacity, we likewise dismiss this action.

Facts and Procedural History

Hanover College was the beneficiary of two trusts: one created in 1949 and one created in 2004. Old National Bancorp, d/b/a Old National Trust Company, was the trustee for both trusts. In June 2012, Hanover filed petitions in the Randolph Circuit Court pursuant to Indiana Code § 30-4-3-24.4 (2005), claiming that maintaining the trusts as entities separate from its own endowment fund was wasteful, provided lower investment returns, and impaired the trusts' administration. Hanover requested the trusts be terminated and their funds held as part of its endowment, in a manner consistent with the purpose of the trusts.

Old National, as trustee, filed responses to Hanover's petitions. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing on September 27, 2012, after which it granted Hanover's petitions. On February 14, 2013, it ordered the two trusts dissolved " effective immediately" and the trust assets distributed to Hanover in order that they might be set into endowment funds controlled by Hanover.

Old National did not seek a stay of the trial court's dissolution orders, but instead appealed. The two matters were consolidated by the Court of Appeals. On appeal, Old National challenged the merits of the trial court's determination that dissolution of the trusts was warranted.

Hanover filed a brief responsive to Old National's claims, but also filed a motion to dismiss the appeal entirely. In its motion to dismiss, Hanover argued that Old National failed to seek a stay of the trial court's orders and had already transferred all of the trusts' assets to Hanover. According to Hanover, Old National therefore lacked standing to pursue an appeal and the issues being appealed were moot.

Old National responded to Hanover's motion, arguing that Indiana's Trust Code permitted it to appeal the trial court's order as an " aggrieved person," notwithstanding Old National's failure to request a stay and compliance with the trial court's directives. It argued that it was not pursuing the appeal in its representative capacity as the former trustee of the dissolved trusts, but instead was appealing in its individual capacity as a bank.

The Court of Appeals granted Hanover's motion and dismissed Old National's appeal. Old Nat'l Bancorp v. Hanover College,999 N.E.2d 463, 467 (Ind.Ct.App. 2013). It concluded that Old National lacked standing in its representative capacity because it failed to obtain a stay of the trial court's termination orders and therefore was no longer the trustee of the trusts; moreover, the Court of Appeals held that Old National did not intervene in its individual capacity at trial and therefore could not be an aggrieved party on appeal. Id. at 466. We granted transfer, ...


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