In the Matter of the Unsupervised Estate of Orlando C. Lewis, Jr.,
Shana Toliver and Kathy Calloway, Appellees-Respondents. Orlando Lewis, Sr., Appellant-Petitioner,
from the Johnson Superior Court The Honorable Kevin M.
Barton, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 41D01-1707-EU-179
Attorney for Appellant Daniel J. Zlatic Rubino, Ruman,
Crosmer & Polen Dyer, Indiana.
Attorney for Appellee Kathy Calloway Edward A. McGlone Terre
Attorneys for Appellee Shana Toliver Nathaniel Lee Jennifer
Lee Faith Alvarez Lee Cossell & Crowley, LLP
Orlando Lewis, Sr. ("Lewis, Sr.") appeals the
Johnson Superior Court's order rescinding his appointment
as the special administrator for the estate of his son
Orlando Lewis, Jr. ("the Estate").
and Procedural History
Lewis, Sr. is the father of Orland Lewis, Jr. ("Lewis,
Jr."). Lewis, Jr. had two children-Son J.T., born in
2011 to Shana Toliver ("Toliver") and Daughter
K.L., born in 2015 to Lewis, Jr.'s wife Shante Lewis
("Shante"). Toliver and Lewis, Jr. shared custody
of Son J.T. with Toliver having primary physical
On July 22, 2017, a commercial bus owned by Miller
Transportation, Inc. ran into the back of a stopped vehicle
occupied by Lewis, Jr., his wife Shante, Daughter K.L., and
Shante's mother Rose Ann Pettus ("Rose Ann") on
a highway in Monroe County. Daughter K.L. was the only
survivor. Aside from Daughter K.L., Lewis, Jr. was survived
by his father, his mother Sharon Norals, and Son J.T.
After the accident, Shante's aunt and Rose Ann's
sister Kathy Calloway ("Calloway") rushed to the
hospital where Daughter K.L had been taken for treatment of
her broken leg and other injuries. There, Calloway learned
that Daughter K.L. was the only survivor, and after speaking
with a caseworker from the Department of Child Services and
completing the paperwork provided by that caseworker,
Daughter K.L. was released from the hospital and into
Calloway's care. Subsequently, Calloway filed for and was
appointed as Daughter K.L.'s temporary guardian on August
14. And at the time of the events underlying this appeal,
Calloway was awaiting a February 2018 hearing to become
Daughter K.L.'s permanent guardian.
Three days after the accident, on July 25, Lewis, Sr., who at
all relevant times has lived in Illinois, filed a petition
for appointment as special administrator for the sole purpose
of pursuing damages for the wrongful deaths of Lewis, Jr. and
Shante in the Johnson Superior Court. The trial court granted
Lewis, Sr.'s petition, and he was issued Letters of
Administration on August 1.
The very next day, on July 26, Son J.T.'s mother Toliver
filed her own petition for appointment as special
administrator for the Estate in the Marion County Superior
Court. The court appointed Toliver as the special
administrator on July 27 and issued letters of
administration. The Marion Superior Court subsequently
learned that Lewis, Sr. had filed his petition in Johnson
County prior to Toliver's petition, and thereupon, the
Marion Superior Court stayed its proceeding pending a
determination of venue in the Johnson Superior Court.
On August 28, Toliver filed a petition to intervene in the
Johnson County proceedings and a motion to remove Lewis, Sr.
as special administrator of the Estate. On August 30,
Calloway filed a similar petition to intervene, and on
September 6, Calloway filed a motion asking the trial court
to reconsider its appointment of Lewis, Sr. as special
administrator of the Estate or to remove him. Both Toliver
and Calloway argued in their motions that they should be
appointed co-special administrators of the Estate because
they are the legal guardian and court-appointed guardian of
Lewis, Jr.'s two dependent children respectively.
On October 12, 2017, the trial court held a combined hearing
in which it heard argument and evidence on all motions
pending before it regarding the estates of both Lewis, Jr.
and Shante. On December 4, the trial court issued an order in
which it, in pertinent part and in regards to the Estate: (1)
determined that venue was proper in Johnson County; (2)
explained that the beneficiaries of a wrongful death action
on behalf of Lewis, Jr. are his two minor children Daughter
K.L. and Son J.T.; (3) reconsidered and rescinded its prior
appointment of Lewis, Sr. as special administrator and
vacated the letters of administration; and (4) appointed
Toliver and Calloway as special co-personal representatives
of the Estate for the limited purpose of pursuing the
wrongful death claim on behalf of Daughter K.L. and Son J.T.
Appellant's App. pp. 15- 20.
Lewis, Sr. now appeals.
Lewis, Sr. contends that the trial court abused its
discretion when it rescinded its appointment of him as
special administrator of the Estate. Specifically, Lewis, Sr.
maintains that he was appropriately appointed as the special
administrator of the Estate under Indiana Code section
29-1-10-15, and thus the trial court abused its discretion
when it removed him without complying with Indiana Code
section 29-1-10-6 (the "Removal Statute").
Calloway argues that because the Removal Statute
was not involved in the court's decision, the trial
court acted within its discretion when it reconsidered and
rescinded its order appointing Lewis, Sr. as special
administrator. Therefore, Calloway maintains that the trial
court did not err when it named her and Toliver as the
special co-personal representatives of the Estate. Under the
particular facts and circumstances presented here, we agree
Indiana Code section 29-1-10-15 provides that a trial court