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City of Hammond v. Rostankovski

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 23, 2019

City of Hammond, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
John Rostankovski, Appellee-Defendant.

          Appeal from the Lake Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 45D09-1805-OV-1637 The Honorable Julie N. Cantrell, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Kristen D. Hill Munster, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Sophia J. Arshad Arshad Pangere & Warring, LLP Merrillville, Indiana Geoffrey G. Giorgi Giorgi & Bebekoski, LLC Crown Point, Indiana

          RILEY, JUDGE.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellant-Plaintiff, the City of Hammond (Hammond), appeals the Superior Court's dismissal of its action against Appellee-Defendant, John Rostankovski (Rostankovski), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         [¶2] We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

         ISSUE

         [¶3] Hammond presents this court with one issue on appeal which we restate as: Whether the Superior Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear Hammond's appeal from a negative judgment based on an ordinance violation.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] Rostankovski is the owner of residential rental property located on Spruce Street, in Hammond, Indiana. On October 24, 2017, Hammond filed a Complaint against Rostankovski in the Hammond City Court (City Court), alleging a violation of Hammond's zoning ordinance. Rostankovski filed a motion to dismiss Hammond's Complaint, to which Hammond responded. On April 20, 2018, after conducting a hearing, the City Court issued an Order, concluding that Hammond's Complaint was barred by laches and consequently dismissed the Complaint.

         [¶5] On April 30, 2018, Hammond filed a motion for trial de novo with the Lake County Superior Court (Superior Court), which was denied on May 7, 2018. In its order, the Superior Court found:

Motion for Trial De Novo is denied. Trial De Novo Rule 2A1 states, "a defendant who has statutory right to appeal . . ." It does not contemplate appeal by anyone other than the defendant.
However, if [Hammond] is of the opinion it has a right to pursue appeal pursuant to [Ind. Code ยง] 33-35-5-10, [Hammond] shall file an appeal in conformity with the ...

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