July 08, 2004

Indiana Decisions - Two Court of Appeals and Two Tax Court Decisions Posted Today

David A. Yoquelet, et al., v. Marshall County (7/8/04 IndCtApp) [Procedure]
Sharpnack, Judge

David Yoquelet and other former employees of Marshall County (collectively “Employees”) appeal the trial court’s grant of Marshall County’s motion for summary judgment. Employees raise one issue, which we restate as whether the trial court erred by granting Marshall County’s motion for summary judgment in part. Because the appellants have not provided us with the materials necessary to consider their appeal, we affirm. * * *

The only portion of the record that Employees submitted was the trial transcript and accompanying exhibits, the trial court’s June 18, 2003, judgment for Marshall County, and the trial court’s January 28, 2003, order granting Marshall County’s motion for summary judgment. As previously mentioned, we may consider only those portions of the pleadings, depositions, and any other matter specifically designated to the trial court for purposes of the motion for summary judgment. Without the designated evidence, which the trial court relied upon in drafting its summary judgment order, we cannot review the trial court’s decision to grant Marshall County’s motion for summary judgment. As a consequence, Employees have failed to prove that the trial court erred, and the presumption of the validity of the summary judgment remains.
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. Affirmed.
VAIDIK, J. concurs
MATHIAS, J. dissents with separate opinion:

I respectfully dissent from the majority’s decision to resolve this case based upon Employees’ failure to file the Appendix required by Appellate Rules 49 and 50. I believe that while Employees’ failure is not to be countenanced, an appellate order to supplement is the proper procedure for our court in these circumstances in civil cases, as well as in criminal cases. Ind. App. R. 49(B).

If Employees failed to comply with such an order, then the appeal could be dismissed, rather than resolved on the burden of proof. All cases, criminal and civil, are too important to resolve other than on their merits, except in unusual circumstances which are not present here.

Eddie Trail, et al. v. Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Indiana, et al. (7/8/04 IndCtApp) [Employment Contracts; Torts]
Sharphack, Judge
[The Trails appeal the trial court’s grant of a motion to dismiss filed by the Defendants. Some citations omitted.] Even viewing the Trails’ breach of contract claim in a light most favorable to them, we conclude that under the facts alleged in their complaint Eddie was an at-will employee and that the Trails provide no authority to demonstrate that the facts alleged in the complaint are capable of supporting a breach of contract action against the Club. Further, the Trails do not allege or argue that Eddie had a contract with the members of the Executive Committee in their official capacity or the Individual Defendants. Consequently, the trial court did not err by dismissing the Trails’ breach of contract claim. * * *

Viewing the Trails’ tortious interference claim against the Individual Defendants in a light most favorable to them, we conclude that the facts alleged in their complaint are sufficient to support a tortious interference action against the Individual Defendants. Consequently, the trial court did not err by dismissing the Trails’ tortious interference claim against the Club and the members of the Executive Committee named in their official capacity. However, the trial court erred by dismissing the Trails’ tortious interference claim against the Individual Defendants. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the tortious interference claim against the Individual Defendants and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. * * *

Although unartfully pleaded, the complaint placed the Defendants on notice as to the theory of Eddie’s defamation claim and its underlying facts and is capable of supporting a defamation claim. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s dismissal of this defamation claim and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. * * *

The last issue is whether the trial court abused its discretion by dismissing Katrinka’s claim for loss of consortium. The trial court found that Katrinka’s loss of consortium claim failed because Eddie’s claims failed. A loss of consortium claim is derivative of the injured spouse’s claim. Thus, if the spouse’s cause of action fails, the loss of consortium claim falls with it. Id. Because the trial court erred by dismissing Eddie’s tortious interference and defamation claims, Katrinka’s loss of consortium claim survives. Consequently, the trial court erred by dismissing Katrinka’s loss of consortium claim to the extent that it relates to Eddie’s surviving tortious interference and defamation claims.

In summary, we affirm the trial court’s grant of the Defendants’ motion to dismiss as to the breach of contract claim and the tortious interference claim against the Club and the members of the Executive Committee in their official capacity. We reverse the trial court’s dismissal of Eddie’s tortious interference claim against the Individual Defendants, Eddie’s defamation claim, and Katrinka’s loss of consortium claim as it relates to Eddie’s surviving claims. We also note that the Trails request that we allow them the opportunity to file an amended complaint if we affirm the trial court’s dismissal of their claims. * * *

A plaintiff is entitled either to amend his complaint pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 12(B)(6) or to elect to stand upon his complaint and appeal from the order of dismissal. If the plaintiff elects to stand upon his complaint and appeal from the order of dismissal, the dismissal becomes an adjudication on the merits. Thus, we cannot grant the Trails’ request to allow them to amend their complaint.

For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the Trails’ complaint in part, reverse the dismissal in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
MATHIAS, J. and VAIDIK, J. concur

Wieland Designs v. Department of Local Government Finance (7/7/04 IndTaxCt - NOT FOR PUBLICATION) [Real Property Assessment]

"To meet its burden, Wieland was required to explain its causes of obsolescence in order to translate its improvement’s loss in value (due to those causes) into a quantifiable amount of obsolescence depreciation. Thus, although both parties agreed that causes of obsolescence existed in Wieland’s improvement, Wieland was still required to demonstrate how those causes resulted in its improvement’s loss of value in order to convert that actual loss of value into a percentage reduction and apply it against its improvement’s overall value. Instead, Wieland presented a cursory calculation bearing no relationship to the causes of obsolescence present in its improvement. Similarly, Miller made no attempt to explain how the numbers used in his calculation related to the improvement’s causes of obsolescence and the associated loss in value. Without more, Wieland’s evidence failed to demonstrate that it was entitled to additional obsolescence depreciation. Accordingly, the State Board properly rejected Wieland’s request for additional obsolescence." (citations omitted)

Champlin Realty v. Department of Local Government Finance (7/7/04 IndTaxCt - NOT FOR PUBLICATION) [Real Property Assessment]

"Because Champlin failed to link the factors causing obsolescence with an actual loss in its properties’ value, it failed to make a prima facie case quantifying the amount of obsolescence to which it was entitled. The Court therefore AFFIRMS the two final determinations of the State Board valuing Champlin’s properties for the 1995 assessment."

Posted by Marcia Oddi at July 8, 2004 01:53 PM