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Seventh Circuit: Indiana Writs of Assistance Do Not Need To Be Executed In A Commercially-Reasonable Manner

This supplements my March 2, 2007 post:  The execution of a writ of assistance need not be "commercially reasonable."  Please click here for that post, which in part dealt with the federal district court's February 16, 2007 conclusion that Indiana Trial Rule 70(A) writs of assistance should be executed by the county sheriff immediately and without regard to commercially-reasonable standards.  The Seventh Circuit agreed with the opinion of Judge Tinder (who is, incidentally, now a Seventh Circuit Judge).

Affirmed.  At issue was the timing of an eviction of a property owner after after an execution sale of the real estate.  The owner, Mr. Dempsey, cried foul because JP Morgan Chase refused to delay the eviction to allow Mr. Dempsey to attend a funeral.  Here's what the Seventh Circuit said regarding the appeal of that issue: 

We likewise agree with the district court that there is no merit to Dempsey’s claim that the writ of assistance was executed unfairly because Chase refused to delay the eviction to allow Dempsey to attend a funeral. Dempsey has provided no support whatsoever for his contention that the writ must be executed in a commercially reasonable manner. “A writ of assistance is an equitable remedy used to transfer real property, the title of which has been previously adjudicated, as a means of enforcing the court’s own decree” where the party that the writ is issued against has refused to obey that decree—like Dempsey did here. See TeWalt v. TeWalt, 421 N.E.2d 415, 418 (Ind. Ct. App. 1981); see also IND. R. TRIAL P. 70(A). Thus, it is not surprising that the sheriff has the “right and duty” to execute the writ immediately upon receiving it. 7 C.J.S. Writ of Assistance § 14. As the district court noted, “Dempsey could have avoided his trouble by moving out voluntarily and promptly when Chase obtained title to the property as opposed to forcing Chase to utilize the sheriff’s department to enforce the court’s decision.”

For a .pdf of the entire March 31, 2008 decision in Dempsey v. JP Morgan Chase, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 7707 (7th Cir. 2008) click here.pdf.

Tool for creditors.  Again, if you acquired title to real estate at a sheriff's sale and if the owner will not vacate voluntarily, your remedy is a writ of assistance.  Dempsey provides powerful legal precedent, favorable to creditors, associated with how Indiana writs of assistance can and should be executed.

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