829 N.E.2d 1049 (Ind.App. 2005), 46A03-0410-CV-484, Scruggs v. Allen County/City of Fort Wayne

Docket Nº:46A03-0410-CV-484.
Citation:829 N.E.2d 1049
Party Name:Aaron SCRUGGS, et al., Appellants-Plaintiffs, v. ALLEN COUNTY/CITY OF FORT WAYNE, et al. Appellees-Defendants.
Case Date:June 28, 2005
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana
 
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Page 1049

829 N.E.2d 1049 (Ind.App. 2005)

Aaron SCRUGGS, et al., Appellants-Plaintiffs,

v.

ALLEN COUNTY/CITY OF FORT WAYNE, et al. Appellees-Defendants.

No. 46A03-0410-CV-484.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 28, 2005

Page 1050

Aaron B. Scruggs, Westville, pro se.

Stephen R. Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, Elizabeth Rogers, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, for Appellees.

OPINION

HOFFMAN, Senior Judge.

On June 29, 2004, Plaintiffs-Appellants Aaron Scruggs, James Underwood, and Wendell Boddie (collectively "Scruggs") filed a complaint in LaPorte Circuit Court alleging that they were being incarcerated in violation of the Indiana constitution. The trial court dismissed their complaint pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 12(b)(6). Scruggs appeals the dismissal of his complaint.

Scruggs claims that the trial court erred by dismissing his complaint because Defendants-Appellees the State of Indiana, the Department of Correction, Edwin Buss, Superintendent of the Department of Correction, Allen County, and the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, are liable under the Indiana Tort Claims Act for violating his constitutional rights. More specifically, Scruggs claims that Ind.Code § 35-34-1-1 et seq. violates Art. I, § 23 of the Indiana constitution because it allows some people to be charged with felonies by way of an information, while others are indicted by a grand jury. Scruggs contends that all citizens should be allowed to have potential felony charges against them reviewed by a grand jury. He argues that because he was convicted as a result of charges initiated by information rather than indictment, he is being falsely imprisoned and is entitled to tort claim relief for the denial of his right to equal privileges. Therefore, he concludes that the trial court erred by dismissing his complaint.

Scruggs was charged with Class C felony battery, Class D felony resisting law enforcement, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and Class A misdemeanor criminal conversion on October 25, 2002. Scruggs was convicted as charged. Underwood was charged by information with Class C felony battery on January 21, 1987. Underwood was convicted as charged. Boddie was charged by information with Class A felony dealing in cocaine or narcotic drug, and as a habitual offender on March 15, 2001. Boddie was convicted as charged. Scruggs and Underwood remain incarcerated.

Allen County filed its motion to dismiss on August 8, 2004, while the State of Indiana, the Department of Correction and Edwin Buss filed their motion to dismiss on August 25, 2004. The trial court dismissed the complaint against the State of Indiana, the Department of Correction, and Edwin Buss on September 15, 2004. The trial court dismissed the complaint against Allen County on October 13, 2004.

Page 1051

In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to a Ind. Trial Rule 12(b)(6) motion, our standard of review is well settled. A Trial Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted tests the legal sufficiency of a claim, not the facts supporting it. Gorski v. DRR, Inc., 801 N.E.2d 642, 644 (Ind.Ct.App.2003).

Therefore, we view the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing every reasonable inference in favor of this party. Id. The trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss is proper if it is apparent that the facts alleged in the complaint are incapable of supporting relief under any set of...

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