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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Town council to discuss appeal

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Candidates for South Putnam High School's homecoming queen, to be announced Friday evening during the football game against Speedway, are (from left) Chelsea Clark, Janaye Asher, Bailey Birt and Shannon Egold.
The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a judgment last week in favor of an Iowa firm that sued Cloverdale in May 2006 after the town refused to pay for a fire truck it had voted to order.

In its ruling, the court rejected Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley's decision to make a summary judgment in favor of Cloverdale.

A judge can make a summary judgment, or a ruling without trial, on all or part of a case, when the facts of what the judge is ruling on are not in dispute.

In striking down Headley's decision, the three-judge panel sent the case back to the circuit court for trial.

Today's special meeting of the Cloverdale Town Council will address whether the council wants to appeal the new ruling to the State Supreme Court or take the case to trial in Putnam County, said Town Attorney Allan Yackey.

But the case brought by Simon Fire Equipment and Repair is just one of five active lawsuits against the town.

Simon v. Cloverdale

In April 2005, the town of Cloverdale asked for bids for a fire truck for the now-disbanded town fire department. Simon offered two bids, one for a vehicle that was used in demonstrations. The marked-down fire engine was priced at just less than $230,000, according to court documents.

At a June 2005 meeting, the council then voted 3-1, with one member abstaining, on a motion council member Judy Whitaker made to purchase the fire truck. The motion stipulated making the purchase pending "favorable financing after sitting down with financial advisers and making sure the town was comfortable with the financial arrangements," the records said.

Then-council president and current board member John Davis then sent a letter to Simon, accepting the firm's bid.

But at a July 19 meeting, a vote to issue a bond to pay for the fire truck failed, 2-3.

In its suit, Simon said the council breached its contract with the firm when it did not pay for the fire truck.

In his ruling this January, Headley said that Davis did not have the authority to accept the firm's bid. And also, since a majority of the council members voted against the bond issue, "they were not comfortable with the costs and financing of the project," thus voiding the contract.

However, an opinion issued Sept. 18 and written by Judge Paul Mathias with Judges Edward Najam, Jr. and Cale Bradford concurring, ruled that some of the facts of the case were in dispute and that Headley was wrong to make a summary judgment.

The court also sided with Simon's argument that the town had, indeed, entered into a contract.

The matter left to be decided is whether the town received adequate enough financing to necessitate its purchase of the fire truck under the contact, the opinion said.

In the suit, Simon asked the court to order Cloverdale to either shell out the $230,000 for the fire truck or pay for the damages including lost profit, storage and maintenance. The company is also seeking to recover court costs and attorney fees.

Setty v. Cloverdale

When it was filed in October 2003 by Cloverdale realtor John Setty and businessmen Curt Sinclair and Gregg Rightmeyer, the Setty v. Cloverdale lawsuit spanned four counts, one brought by Setty, one by Rightmeyer and two by Sinclair.

However, after a motion Yackey filed in June, Headley dismissed all but Sinclair's allegations.

The remaining pieces of the lawsuit accuse the town of failing to uphold an agreement it allegedly made in 2000 to pay Sinclair a share of the fees it collects when houses hooked on to water and sewer lines Sinclair paid to install along Burma Road, according to the lawsuit.

A bench trial for the case is set for Dec. 20 and 21.

Clevenger v. Cloverdale

Developer Robert Clevenger filed a suit in April 2005 against the town and the Plan Commission, accusing it of putting unlawful hurtles in the way of development of his property, Enchanted Acres Subdivision.

Clevenger alleges that the town board told him that he must pay to install sewer lines for the subdivision, even after the Plan Commission approved the design, which called for town water hookups with a septic system.

Last week, Yackey filed a motion to dismiss the suit. Clevenger has yet to respond.

Renner v. Cloverdale

Five Cloverdale property owners between 1600 and 2100 E. County Road 1000 South filed a suit against the town in March 2006, asking to be refunded tax money they paid to Cloverdale and also to be disannexed from the town.

According to they lawsuit, the town has failed to provide basic services like sewer and water to the homes of Scott Renner, John Huber, Ann Manning, Jody Fox and Janice McCormick.

Last week, Yackey asked for a dismissal of the suit on the basis that plaintiff did not claim any harm was done to them and that the time period for annexation complaints has passed by nearly 12 years.

Whitaker v. Cloverdale

The most recent case is a suit Whitaker and Davis filed against the town June 20 of this year. The suit alleges that the interlocal agreement, in which Cloverdale contracted the services of the Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Department, is a violation of state law. The suit seeks to dissolve the contract, bar the township fire department from using Cloverdale's fire station and its fire and rescue equipment.

Last week, Parke County Circuit Court Judge Sam Swaim was appointed special judge for the case.

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