from the Morgan Superior Court Nos. 55D03-1712-SC-1304,
55D03-1811-SC-1183. The Honorable Terry E. Iacoli, Magistrate
Appellant Pro Se Andrew Patrick Anderson, Indiana
Attorney for Appellee Glen E. Koch II Martinsville, Indiana
In 2016, Andrew Patrick ("Patrick") obtained tax
deeds to three unimproved lots in Morgan County (the
"Property"). A neighborhood association-Painted
Hills Association, Inc. (the "Association")-later
filed two small-claims actions against Patrick. The
Association sought to collect unpaid dues for 2017 and 2018,
attempting to enforce restrictive covenants that were
recorded prior to the tax sale. The trial court held a
consolidated hearing on the claims, and ultimately entered
judgment in favor of the Association. Patrick filed a motion
to correct error, which the trial court denied. Patrick now
brings a pro se appeal. The dispositive issue is
whether the restrictive covenants survived the tax
"We generally review a trial court's ruling on a
motion to correct error for an abuse of discretion."
Santelli v. Rahmatullah, 993 N.E.2d 167, 173 (Ind.
2013). An abuse of discretion occurs if a ruling is clearly
against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances
or if the trial court erred on a matter of law. Id.
at 175. Here, the motion to correct error related to the
judgment in favor of the Association. In support of that
judgment, the court entered sua sponte findings and
conclusions, which control the issues they cover-with a
general-judgment standard applicable to any other issue.
See Ind. Trial Rule 52. We "shall not set aside
the findings or judgment unless clearly erroneous," and
must give "due regard . . . to the opportunity of the
trial court to judge the credibility of the witnesses."
T.R. 52(A). In conducting our review, we look to whether the
evidence supports the findings and the findings support the
judgment. See State v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp.,
51 N.E.3d 150, 158 (Ind. 2016). Moreover, although we defer
to findings of fact, we "do not defer to conclusions of
"The meaning of a statute is a question of law [that] is
subject to de novo review." ESPN, Inc. v.
Univ. of Notre Dame Police Dep't, 62 N.E.3d 1192,
1195 (Ind. 2016). "If a statute is unambiguous, we may
not interpret it, but must give the statute its clear and
plain meaning. If a statute is ambiguous, however, we must
ascertain the legislature's intent and interpret the
statute so as to effectuate that intent." Elmer
Buchta Trucking, Inc. v. Stanley, 744 N.E.2d 939, 942
(Ind. 2001) (cleaned up). "[A] statute is ambiguous when
it allows more than one reasonable interpretation."
Day v. State, 57 N.E.3d 809, 813 (Ind. 2016).
Patrick does not dispute that, prior to the tax sale, the
Property was subject to recorded restrictive covenants that
the Association could enforce. The dispute is about the effect
of the tax sale. As to the instant tax deeds, the parties
agree that the following statute applies-but they proffer
A tax deed executed under this chapter vests in the grantee
an estate in fee simple absolute, free and clear of all liens
and encumbrances created or suffered before or after the tax
sale except those liens granted priority under federal law
and the lien of the state or a political subdivision for
taxes and special assessments which accrue subsequent to the
sale and which are ...