Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Windgate Properties, LLC v. Sanders

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 20, 2018

Windgate Properties, LLC, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Chris Sanders, Appellee-Defendant

         Appeal from the Crawford Circuit Court The Honorable Sabrina R. Bell, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 13C01-1505-PL-16

          Attorney for Appellant Richard Wayne Greeson Connersville, Indiana

          Altice, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] WindGate Properties, LLC, (WindGate) and Chris Sanders each purchased

multiple tracts of land at a tax sale. These tracts all had the same owner prior to the tax sale, and the tax sale left landlocked one tract purchased by Sanders and two purchased by WindGate. In response to a quiet title action filed by WindGate, Sanders asserted that he had an implied easement by necessity across one of WindGate's tracts. Following a bench trial, the trial court issued an order quieting title to WindGate subject to an implied easement by necessity for the benefit of Sanders. WindGate's arguments on appeal are numerous, but they all essentially boil down to a claim that easements should be established over adjacent properties to the north rather than WindGate's property.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Facts & Procedural History

         [¶3] Opportunity Options, Inc., owned a significant amount of undeveloped real estate in Crawford County that was sold at a tax sale on September 27, 2013. WindGate and Sanders, as well as others, purchased parcels at this sale. Relevant to this appeal, WindGate and Sanders each purchased a parcel that was divided into two non-adjacent tracts. The four tracts - Sanders 1 (4.45 acres), WindGate 1 (49.014 acres), Sanders 2 (28.24 acres), and WindGate 2 (34.142 acres) - were situated like puzzle pieces as follows:

         (Image Omitted)

Appendix Vol. 2 at 105 (modified from original). Sanders 1 had access to a public roadway at its northwest corner, but the other three tracts were landlocked following the tax sale. None of these landlocked tracts had any recorded easements for ingress or egress.

         [¶4] The real estate to the north of Sanders's and WindGate's parcels (the Northern Real Estate) was "[a]t some point in time" all owned by Opportunity Options. Transcript at 39. The record is vague regarding the Northern Real Estate, but the record establishes that sometime prior to the tax sale, likely at different times, the land was divided and sold to various people.[1] Throughout the Northern Real Estate, Opportunity Options had built dirt and gravel roads to access the land from public roadways. Part of one of these private roads runs along the northern boundary of Sanders 2 and another runs north to Tower Road.

         [¶5] On May 22, 2015, WindGate filed a complaint to quiet title in the parcel comprised of WindGate 1 and WindGate 2.[2] Along with Opportunity Options and various lienholders, WindGate named as defendants the following adjacent property owners: Larry and Deborah Lynch, Patsy and Louis Humphrey, Turner Corn, Trent Seyeyasu (sic), Sherry Applegate, and Sanders.

         [¶6] On July 30, 2015, Sanders filed his answer to the complaint and claimed an easement across WindGate's property. Sanders did not file a counterclaim. In his answer, however, he requested that the court "enter an order declaring his easement across the real estate of the Plaintiff to be exclusive and superior to all claims of the Plaintiff and other Defendants". Appendix Vol. 2 at 24. Because the other adjacent property owners did not answer the complaint, these defendants, as well as ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.