Indiana Creditor’s Rights Law Personal Jurisdiction Requires more than Service at Adult Defendant’s Parents’ Residence and Knowledge of Complaint By: Jeremy L. Fetty

A recent Indiana Court of Appeals decisions held that both a borrower’s knowledge of a lender’s claim against him and service at the borrower’s parents’ house, when borrower did not reside at the residence, were insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over the borrower. In Norris v. Personal Finance, 957 N.E. 2d, 1002 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011) the financial institution attempted to assert personal jurisdiction over the borrower by serving the borrower’s parents’ address, where such address was included in borrower’s application as his references’ address and was never listed as the borrower’s home address.

In overturning the trial court’s decision, the court held that the borrower’s parents had no obligation to notify the court that the borrower did not live with them, as parents of a competent adult were not included in the list of persons having authority to accept service under Indiana Trial Rule 4.16 and that it was never asserted that the borrower’s parents were acting as his agents. The court, relying on Hill v. Ramey, 744 N.E. 2d, 509 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001) also held that the borrower’s knowledge of the claim was not enough to assert personal jurisdiction over him. Therefore, Personal Finance failed to assert personal jurisdiction over the borrower and the borrower’s denial of motion for relief was reversed.

Jeremy Fetty is a partner in the law firm of Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson with offices in Lebanon and Indianapolis. He often advises businesses and utilities (for profit, non-profit and cooperative) on organizational, human resources, and transactional matters and drafts and reviews commercial contracts.

The statements contained herein are matters of opinion and general information only and are not to be considered legal advice and should not be construed to form an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact an attorney.