from the Fountain Circuit Court The Honorable Stephanie S.
Campbell, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 23C01-1301-DR-35
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT William O. Harrington Harrington Law,
P.C. Danville, Indiana
Peter Coles ("Husband") appeals the trial
court's grant of Mary (Coles) McDaniel's
("Wife") motion for relief from judgment and the
trial court's subsequent division of certain real
property of the marriage. We affirm. Facts and Procedural
Husband and Wife were married in 1991. On January 30, 2013,
Wife filed for dissolution. Wife served a series of
interrogatories on Husband on January 8, 2015, and Husband
answered those interrogatories on March 11, 2015. As part of
those interrogatories, Husband was asked if he owned any real
estate. The parties did not own real estate together,
however, Husband held a remainder fee-simple interest in real
estate subject to his mother's life estate ("Lizton
House"), which he did not disclose on the
The parties agreed to terms resolving all issues related to
dissolution and submitted their Dissolution Settlement
Agreement to the court. On August 12, 2015, the trial court
entered a decree of dissolution, incorporating the custody,
support, and property settlement agreements from the
Dissolution Settlement Agreement.
On March 22, 2016, Wife filed a motion for relief from
judgment, alleging Husband did not disclose his interest in
certain real property prior to the Dissolution Settlement
Agreement. Specifically, Wife directed the trial court to two
of Husband's answers to interrogatories wherein he
indicated he did not own real estate. Wife claimed she was
entitled to relief because she would not have entered into
their Dissolution Settlement Agreement if had she known of
Husband's interest in the Lizton House.
The trial court first ordered the parties to mediation, but
mediation was unsuccessful. The trial court held a hearing on
February 14, 2017. On April 14, 2017, the trial court entered
findings of fact and conclusions of law granting Wife's
motion to set aside the portions of the Dissolution
Settlement Agreement regarding the parties' debts and
assets. The trial court ordered the parties to participate in
mediation to determine the value of those debts and assets
prior to the court holding a final hearing on the matter.
Mediation was again unsuccessful. The trial court held a
hearing on September 29, 2017, and then entered an order
distributing the relevant debts and assets on November 5,
2017 ("2017 Property Order").
As an initial matter, we note Wife did not file an
appellee's brief. When an appellee does not submit a
brief, we do not undertake the burden of developing arguments
for that party. Thurman v. Thurman, 777 N.E.2d 41,
42 (Ind.Ct.App. 2002). Instead, we apply a less stringent
standard of review and may reverse if the appellant
establishes prima facie error. Id.
Prima facie error is "error at first sight, on
first appearance, or on the face of it." Van Wieren
v. Van Wieren, 858 N.E.2d 216, 221 (Ind.Ct.App. 2006).
GRANTING WIFE RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT
Whether to grant a motion for relief from judgment under
Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) is within the discretion of the
trial court, and we reverse only for abuse of that
discretion. Miller v. Moore, 696 N.E.2d 888, 889
(Ind.Ct.App. 1998). An abuse of discretion occurs when the
decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts
and circumstances before it, or if the trial court has
misinterpreted the law. Id. When we review a trial
court's decision, we will not reweigh the evidence.
Beike v. Beike, 805 N.E.2d 1265, 1267 (Ind.Ct.App.
Where, as here, the trial court entered findings sua
sponte after a bench trial, the findings control our
review and judgment only as to those issues specifically
referenced in the findings. See Samples v. Wilson,
12 N.E.3d 946, 949-50 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). When the trial
court does not make specific findings on an issue, we apply a
general judgment standard, and we may affirm on any legal
theory supported by the evidence adduced at trial.
Id. at 950.
A two-tier standard of review is applied to the sua
sponte findings and conclusions made: whether the
evidence supports the findings, and whether the findings
support the judgment. Findings and conclusions will be set
aside only if they are clearly erroneous, that is, when the
record contains no facts or inferences supporting them. A
judgment is clearly erroneous when a review of the record
leaves us with a firm conviction that a mistake has been
made. In conducting our review, we consider only the evidence
favorable to the judgment and all reasonable inferences
flowing therefrom. We will neither reweigh the evidence nor
assess witness credibility.
Id. Husband does not challenge the trial court's
findings, and thus they stand as proven. See Madlem v.
Arko, 592 N.E.2d 686, 687 (Ind. 1992) ("Because
Madlem does not challenge the findings of the trial court,
they must be accepted as correct."). Thus, we turn to
whether those findings support the trial court's
decision. Samples, 12 N.E.3d at 950.
Indiana Trial Rule 60(B)(3) provides for relief from a
judgment for "fraud (whether heretofore denominated
intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other
misconduct of an adverse party[.]" In its order granting
Wife's motion for relief from judgment, the trial court
found Husband submitted incomplete or false answers to some
of Wife's interrogatories as part ...