WARSAW — Controversy continues in the case of four Winona Lake homeowners against the Kosciusko County Community Fair regarding racing events. Judge Michael Reed entered a preliminary injunction and a findings of fact and conclusion of law in Kosciusko County Circuit Court today, May 16.
The order comes after a hearing on the matter was held on Thursday, May 10. Both parties appeared in person at the hearing and presented evidence. The judge took the evidence under advisement and declared an order.
The order by Judge Reed declares that the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction is granted. While this case continues, the fairgrounds is “prohibited from conducting, running, permitting or allowing motorized racing on fairgrounds property, or otherwise violating the restrictive covenants.”
The homeowners have been ordered to post a bond of $50,000 to compensate the fairgrounds for damage if the case is determined wrongful.
Judge Reed declared that the four elements neccesary to declare an injunction were met.
The first element neccesary is determining if the plaintiffs can establish a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. During the hearing, the plaintiffs argued that contrary to the restrictive covenants, the fairgrounds has used the real estate for motorized racing and intends to do so in the future.
It was declared that the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence of the existence of the restrictive covenants, the violations of the restrictive covenants and the defendants anticipated future violations of the restrictive covenants.
The second element is whether the plaintiff does not have adequate remedies at law. The order states, “In this case, there is no legal remedy that will adequately compensate the Plaintiffs. There is no legal remedy that will compensate the plaintiffs for the noise, pollution and disruption to their use of their property. The plaintiffs’ use of their real estate, once precluded or compromised by the defendant, is gone forever.”
The third point is whether the harm to plaintiffs of denying injunctive relief outweighs harm to defendant of granting injunctive relief. The order states, “If the plaintiffs are denied injunctive relief, they will be denied a benefit that they considered when they purchased their real estate, denied the benefit of their bargain and denied the use of their property.”
The last factor is whether the public interest will be disserved by granting the injunction. The order states, “First, Indiana recognizes the freedom of parties to contract and granting the injunction will simply enforce the parties’ agreement. Granting the injunction and upholding the parties’ contract would further the public interest. Second, restrictive covenants are clothed with a presumption of validity because homeowners make decisions to purchase their real estate based upon the existence of restrictive covenants. Failing to enforce a restrictive covenant deprives home buyers of the benefit of their bargain and diminishes property values. Third, the restrictive covenants resulted from the settlement of litigation. The argument goes on to state, “Finally, the public interest will not be disserved by enjoining the motorized racing, reducing air pollution and noise pollution and maintaining the tranquility of the area and the lake.”
The Kosciusko County Community Fair has yet to respond to requests for a comment regarding the injunction.
A future hearing date for the case has yet to be set.