from the Morgan Superior Court Trial Court Cause Nos.
55D03-1711-SC-1206 & 55D03-1711-SC-1207 The Honorable
Sara Dungan, Judge, The Honorable Terry E. Iacoli, Magistrate
Attorneys for Appellant Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
T. Craft Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
OF THE CASE
Appellant-Defendant, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV),
appeals the trial court's partial denial of its motion
for relief from judgment as well as the subsequent nunc
pro tunc orders requiring it to issue salvage titles to
two vehicles owned by Appellee-Plaintiff, Majestic Auto Body
BMV presents one issue on appeal, which we restate as:
Whether the trial court abused its discretion by partially
denying its motion for relief from judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In November 2017, Majestic purchased a 2013 Dodge Grand
Caravan minivan and a 2014 RAM 2500 pickup truck from
Insurance Auto Auctions in Texas. Majestic paid $1, 648 for
the 2013 Dodge minivan and $18, 273 for the 2014 RAM truck.
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS)
showed that in October 2017, Hurricane Harvey damaged the
vehicles. Consequently, the state of Texas designated both
vehicles as junk and issued salvage titles. The NMVTIS
printouts indicated that the vehicles are "incapable of
safe operation for use on the roads or highways and [have] no
resale value except as a source of parts or scrap."
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 46). The NMVTIS report also
noted that the vehicles can never be "titled or
registered." (Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 46).
As per Majestic's request, on November 10 and 13, 2017,
the Indiana State Police Department (State Police) inspected
both vehicles. For the 2013 Dodge minivan, the State Police
reported that it had a "[n]one rebuild-able [sic] title,
however[, ] vehicle shows zero signs of damage on
non-roadworthyness [sic]." (Appellant's App. Vol.
II, p. 20). As for the pickup truck, the State Police's
observations were, "FLOOD VEH[ICLE]. CONTAINS NO DAMAGE.
APPEARS TO BE IN PERFECT CONDITION." (Appellant's
App. Vol. II, p. 25).
Based on the favorable inspections, on November 30, 2017,
Majestic filed notices of claim in the Morgan County small
claims court under Causes 55D03-1711-SC-1206 (Cause Number
1206) and 55D03-1711-SC-1207 (Cause Number 1207), seeking to
obtain a clean title to the minivan and truck, respectively.
A hearing to address both claims was set for January 10,
BMV received a summons for each Cause. On December 14, 2017,
BMV wrote two letters to the trial court, stating that it had
received summons for Cause Numbers 1206 and 1207 where it had
been named as defendant; however, based on the information
provided by Majestic in the notices of claim, it had been
unable to "review, comply[, ] or dispute the
validity" of Majestic's claims since BMV's
system could not locate the vehicles in its system.
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, pp. 26-27). As such, BMV
stated that it did not have any "possessory
interest" in Majestic's vehicles, it did not have a
"position regarding" whom the trial court should