GREENSBURG – Indiana’s second highest court, the state’s Court of Appeals, will soon be making its way to Greensburg, and will conduct an oral argument beginning at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Greensburg Community High School auditorium.
This will be the 27th Appeals on Wheels event this year.
According to the Court of Appeals, the event is being held to hear oral arguments across Indiana to enable Hoosiers to observe the real-world issues that face the Court and learn more about the Court’s indispensable role in Indiana government.
The Court also says audiences will get to observe skilled legal arguments and advocacy by some of Indiana’s best lawyers, against a backdrop of case-specific facts and statutory and constitutional law.
Known as Appeals on Wheels, a panel consisting of Judge John G. Baker, Judge Edward W. Najam Jr., and Judge L. Mark Bailey will hear Happy Valley LLC v. Madison County Board of Commissioners.
According to the Court of Appeals, Judge Bailey was raised in Decatur County and is a graduate of North Decatur High School. He also served as a judge of the Decatur County and Decatur Superior Courts.
The event is open to the public and will last approximately one hour.
According to information provided by the Court, on Dec.23, 2014, Landlord (Happy Valley, LLC) and Tenant (Commissioners of Madison County, Indiana and Madison County Community Corrections Advisory Board) executed a four-year lease for premises to house minimum security prisoners.
The lease contained the following provision: “When the Commissioners of Madison County, Indiana, make a written determination that funds are not appropriated or otherwise available to support continued performance of this Contract, the Contract shall be cancelled. This determination shall be final and conclusive.”
The following is a synopsis given by the Court of Appeals of what will be covered during the oral argument Aug. 23:
Madison County constructed its own minimum security facility, to which prisoners were moved in late 2016.
On Sept. 30, 2016, the County Council examined a proposed budget inclusive of the rent due under the Lease but struck that item from the proposed budget. The County attorney notified Happy Valley that Tenant would be terminating the Lease pursuant to Section 6.01.
Tenants filed a declaratory judgment action which, as amended, requested a determination that the Lease was terminated by the attorney letter or by a February 2017 Commission Resolution. Landlord counterclaimed and raised affirmative defenses, seeking unpaid rent for 2017 and 2018 and alleging Tenant’s non-compliance with Indiana’s Open Door Law, failure to satisfy contractual conditions for termination, and non-compliance with the good faith requirement of Indiana Code Section 5-22-3-1 (applicable to public contracts).
The trial court granted Tenant declaratory relief. The argument presented will address the issue of whether the declaratory judgment is contrary to law.