The Indiana Court of Appeals held, as a matter of first impression, that the definition of a “courthouse” for a notice statute can be a temporary courthouse in which the courts convene while a permanent county courthouse is undergoing repairs.
In August 2009, the Grant County Courthouse was undergoing repairs. Due to the repairs, the court was relocated to a temporary site. Around this time, Claudette Gee’s home was ordered into foreclosure. The Grant County Sheriff’s Department posted notice of the foreclosure on a bulletin board located next to the door of the temporary courtroom. A week after Gee’s property was purchased, Gee moved to set aside the sheriff’s sale. She argued that the sheriff’s office failed to post notice of the sale “at the door of the courthouse” as required by Indiana statute. The trial court denied Gee’s motion and Gee appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
In Claudette Gee v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, No. 27A02-1003-MF-304, the issue on appeal was whether the sheriff followed the correct procedure when the sheriff posted notice of the sale at the temporary county court offices and not at the permanent county courthouse. The Court held that the sheriff complied with Indiana’s notice statute because a “courthouse” is defined as a place where judges convene to adjudicate disputes and administer justice. The Court relied on Black’s Law Dictionary for this definition, as it was not defined in a statute. Because the temporary courtroom was the place where three of the four county courts convened during renovations, the Court determined that the plain meaning of the statute also applied to temporary courtrooms. Therefore, the sheriff followed the proper notice procedure and the foreclosure sale was valid. The court noted, however, that Gee did not argue that the sheriff was required to post notice at both sites, and thus, the Court did not consider this issue. Affirmed.