Indiana Revenue Bd. v. Hansbrough, 381S71

Citation275 Ind. 426,417 N.E.2d 311
Decision Date10 March 1981
Docket NumberNo. 381S71,381S71
PartiesINDIANA REVENUE BOARD, Otis R. Bowen, as a member of the Indiana Revenue Board: Julian L. Ridlen, Treasurer of the State of Indiana and as a member of the Indiana Revenue Board; Charles Loos, Auditor of the State of Indiana and as a member of the Indiana Revenue Board; the State Board of Tax Commissioners: Carleton L. Phillippi; Durwood S. Strang; Taylor I. Morris, Jr.; as members of the State Board of Tax Commissioners of the State of Indiana; William Tracy, as Inheritance Tax Administrator; Donald Clark, as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of State Revenue, Defendants-Appellants, v. R. Jean HANSBROUGH and Max J. Hansbrough, on behalf of themselves and all othertaxpayers of the City of Indianapolis, County of Marion, State of Indiana, similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees.
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Alembert W. Brayton, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for defendants-appellants.

Robert D. Epstein, Michael J. Donahoe, Epstein & Frisch, Indianapolis, E. Alonzo Deckard, Lind, Deckard & O'Brien, Danville, for plaintiffs-appellees.

PIVARNIK, Justice.

This cause comes to us on a Petition to Transfer from an order of the First District Court of Appeals remanding this cause to the trial court on July 16, 1980. Max J. Hansbrough and R. Jean Hansbrough, his wife, brought this action in Marion Superior Court Room 5, on behalf of themselves and all other taxpayers of the City of Indianapolis, County of Marion, State of Indiana. The action was venued to the Hendricks Circuit Court and judgment was entered by Judge Boles there. This is the second purported class action brought by Max J. Hansbrough, and in this case, his wife Jean, as alleged taxpayers on behalf of themselves and all other taxpayers of the City of Indianapolis, County of Marion, State of Indiana, similarly situated on their amended complaint against the Governor, Treasurer and Auditor, as members of the State Revenue Board and the State Board of Tax Commissioners and the Commissioner of the Department of State Revenue, claiming that they, as such taxpayers, are entitled to interest on an alleged judgment rendered in State ex rel. Mass Transportation Authority of Greater Indianapolis v. Indiana Revenue Board, et al., (1968) 144 Ind.App. 63, 242 N.E.2d 642 in the Appellate Court of Indiana. They claim that there was a shortage of an amount in excess of $800,000 in the amount that was actually paid to the Mass Transportation Authority and the amount of judgment. They seek interest on that amount from December 31, 1968 until March 4, 1970.

The Court of Appeals found that the records of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals contained a release of plaintiffs in the action, releasing the defendants in full and acknowledging receipt of the judgment amount of $11,909,752.60. The release was never presented to the trial court and apparently the attorneys handling the matter for the State of Indiana and the trial court were unaware of its existence. On July 16, 1980, the Court of Appeals remanded the cause to the trial court for it to determine the validity of the release and the effect of the release, if valid, and the order upon the matters in issue in the cause. Since we find that the Court of Appeals can, and should, resolve this matter without remand to the trial court, we vacate the July 16, 1980 order of the Third District Court of Appeals in the cause and grant transfer.

The original cause to which the action before us originates, was initiated by Mass Transportation Authority as Plaintiff, filing a petition in the Superior Court of Marion County Room 3, to mandate the defendants to comply with House Enrolled Act No. 1818, passed by the General Assembly during its 1967 Session. House Enrolled Act No. 1818 directed the payment of 90% of inheritance taxes collected by the State paid to the Mass Transportation Authority. In the proceedings, the trial judge granted a temporary restraining order against the defendants enjoining them from continuing to apply the taxes levied and collected under the inheritance tax law of Indiana according to the acts of the General Assembly of Indiana 1931, Ch. 75 § 36, as it existed prior to its amendment by the 1967 Act. The trial judge granted a temporary restraining order. The Attorney General, on behalf of the defendants, prior to the hearing date set by the Superior Court of Marion County, filed a petition to transfer the cause to the Court of Appeals (then Appellate Court) pursuant to Ch. 7 of the Acts of 1965 (Second Special Session). After a hearing, the Appellate Court, sitting en banc, on the petition to transfer, assumed jurisdiction and transferred the cause to the Appellate Court and dissolved the existing restraining order. After hearing the cause on the merits, acting as a trial court, the Appellate Court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants. This judgment was entered on December 31, 1968. State ex rel. Mass Transportation Authority of Greater Indianapolis v. Indiana Revenue Board, et al., (1968) 144 Ind.App. 63, 242 N.E.2d 642.

On November 19, 1969, the Appellate Court, on its own Motion, ordered and directed all of the defendants and each of them, the then Indiana Revenue Board, Governor, Treasurer, Auditor, the Indiana Department of State Revenue and the Commissioner thereof, the State Board of Tax Commissioners and Inheritance Tax Administrator of the State, to make a written computation of the exact amount of state inheritance taxes imposed in Marion County, Indiana, by Ch. 75, § 36 Acts of 1931 as amended by House Enrolled Act 1818, 1967 General Assembly, which were deposited in the Inheritance Tax Account of the State Treasury between January 1, 1967, and to and including December 31, 1968. All defendants were ordered to file a certified copy of said written computation with the Clerk of the Supreme and Appellate Courts. On February 28, 1969, attorneys representing Mass Transportation Authority filed a notice of intention to hold an attorneys lien pursuant to an agreement entered into by said attorneys and the Mass Transportation Authority on the 20th day of July, 1967. Said agreement provided that said attorneys were to receive an amount equal to ten percent of the first year's Marion County inheritance tax revenue received by the Authority as a result of counsel obtaining a court determination in favor of Mass Transportation Authority.

On December 16, 1969, the Appellate Court entered an order with the following provisions: (1) a finding that, pursuant to the order of the Appellate Court entered on November 19, 1969, James O. Mathis, as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of State Revenue, and Richard D. Green, as Inheritance Tax Administrator of the State of Indiana, did, on the 20th day of November, 1969, file with the Clerk of the Supreme and Appellate Courts, duplicate certificate computations of the amounts deposited by Marion County, Indiana, in the Indiana Inheritance Tax Account of the General Fund of the State treasury for the calendar years 1967 and 1968; (2) a finding that the plaintiff State of Indiana on relation of the Mass Transportation Authority of Greater Indianapolis filed an answer in response to the order which accepted as true the certified computations as filed; (3) an order that the Clerk of the Supreme and Appellate Courts transmit instanter a copy of said certified computation to the Auditor of the State of Indiana; (4) an order that said State Auditor draw and issue a warrant on or before December 22, 1969, upon the general fund of the treasury of the State of Indiana for a sum equal to 90% of the amount so computed and certified and immediately present and deposit said warrant with the Clerk of Supreme and Appellate Courts; (5) an order that the Treasurer of the State of Indiana honor said warrant when called upon to do so; (6) an order that the Clerk, upon receipt of said warrant, disburse the same as follows: (a) disburse the amount deposited to the Mass Transportation Authority of Greater Indianapolis less the amount to be disbursed to the attorneys of record in satisfaction of the attorney's lien filed by them on February 28, 1969; (7) an order that the Clerk disburse the 10% to the attorneys of record in satisfaction of their attorney's lien. State ex rel. Mass Transportation Authority of Greater Indianapolis v. Indiana Revenue Board, et al., (1969) 146 Ind.App. 334, 255 N.E.2d 833.

The record of the Appellate Court further shows that all of the above orders were complied with. An amount of $12,737,338.98 was deposited with the Clerk of this Court. The Clerk of this Court issued a check in the amount of $11,909,752.60 to the Department of Transportation, successor to Mass Transportation Authority, original Plaintiff, and the Mass Transportation Authority filed an acknowledgment of receipt of said amount and a release in full of all claims. The Clerk of the Supreme Court, on the same date, also issued a check to the attorneys of record in the amount of $827,586.37, in satisfaction of the attorneys' lien and the attorneys filed an acknowledgment of receipt of said amount and a release in full payment of all claims. Simple mathematics will, of course, show that the total of these two amounts is $12,737,338.97. Contained in the records of the Court of Appeals are all of these acknowledgments, releases, and the cancelled checks of the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Appellate Court, on March 5, 1970, showed,...

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9 cases
  • Fisher v. State
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    ...in regard to proceedings formerly had therein by one of the parties to the proceedings now before it." Ind. Revenue Bd. v. Hansbrough, 275 Ind. 426, 417 N.E.2d 311, 316 (1981) (quoting De Bearn v. Safe Deposit & Trust Co., of Baltimore, 233 U.S. 24, 32, 34 S.Ct. 584, 58 L.Ed. 833 (1914)); s......
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