City of Fort Wayne v. Cameron

Citation267 Ind. 329,370 N.E.2d 338
Decision Date14 December 1977
Docket NumberNo. 1277S811,1277S811
PartiesCITY OF FORT WAYNE, Appellant, v. Charles CAMERON, Appellee.
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

David B. Keller, David A. Travelstead, Warren B. Rosenblatt, Fort Wayne, for appellant.

Howard B. Sandler, Neil F. Sandler, Edward N. Smith, Fort Wayne, for appellee.


GIVAN, Chief Justice.

Appellee Charles Cameron was shot by a Fort Wayne police officer on June 20, 1969. The bullet struck him in the neck and paralyzed all four limbs. As a result of the injury he was confined in a hospital for more than one year. On March 16, 1970, he attained his majority and on April 3, 1970, he gave a formal notice of claim to the city.

Action was filed in Allen Superior Court on June 21, 1971. The city subsequently filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff had failed to comply with the provisions of the city notice statute, IC 1971, 18-2-2-1, which requires a notice of claim against a municipal corporation to be given within 60 days of the incident. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss.

A change of venue was taken to the Noble Circuit Court where the city moved for summary judgment on the same ground. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment, ruling that on the basis of Chaffin v. Nicosia, (1974) 261 Ind. 698, 310 N.E.2d 867, the doctrine of in pari materia requires that the disability statute, IC 1971, 34-1-2-5, and the city notice statute, IC 1971, 18-2-2-1, be construed together with the result that Cameron would have 60 days after his incapacity was removed within which to file notice.

The Court of Appeals for the Third District reversed the trial court's determination. City of Fort Wayne v. Cameron, (1976) Ind.App., 349 N.E.2d 795. The Court of Appeals held that the statutes at issue are irreconcilably in conflict and therefore cannot be read together. The court also held that the statute was constitutional and there was no substantial compliance with the notice statute, notwithstanding the fact the police department had investigated the incident. In a dissenting opinion in the Court of Appeals, Judge Staton argued that to apply the notice statute strictly in this case would be to deprive Cameron's right of action unreasonably and arbitrarily and would, therefore, violate the constitutional guarantee of a remedy by due course of law. Judge Staton was of the opinion that the notice provision should be extended until a reasonable time after the incapacity was removed.

The statute in question, IC 1971, 18-2-2-1, reads as follows:

"Notice of claim against cities and towns. Hereafter no action or actions of any kind for damages arising from any negligence, wilfulness, nuisance, or other tort of any municipal corporation that causes injury to any person, or loss, injury or damage to any property, or any wrongful death, and regardless of to whom any such action or actions may accrue, shall be brought or maintained against any municipal corporation of this state unless there is first served upon either the mayor or clerk of any such city or a member of the board of trustees of any such town, either by delivery thereto in person or by registered mail with return card, a written notice of the occurrence complained of, setting out therein a brief general description of the date and time, the place, the conditions and cause, the nature and extent of the injury to person and loss, injury or damage, if any, to property, the date and cause of any resulting death charged as wrongful and the nature of the damages arising to anyone therefrom, all as associated with and caused by such occurrence. Such notice shall be dated and signed by the person giving the same and must be served as aforesaid so as to be received by some such municipal official aforesaid within sixty (60) days after the occurrence complained of, regardless of what causes of action may arise or result therefrom, except that where snow or ice is associated with such occurrence as the cause thereof, in whole or in part such notice shall be so served within thirty (30) days after such occurrence." *

We first hold that Cameron cannot claim substantial compliance with the statute on the ground that the Fort Wayne police department investigated the incident within 60 days. This Court, in similar case, Geyer v. City of Logansport, (1977) Ind., 370 N.E.2d 333, has held that such a theory cannot be supported.

It was also decided in Geyer that the statute is not unconstitutional, thus disposing of another of plaintiff's grounds for reversing the Court of Appeals' decision.

We also hold that the doctrine of in pari materia does not apply in the case at bar. The disability statute, IC 1971, 34-1-2-5, which extends the time for bringing an action is patently in conflict with the notice of claim statute, IC 1971, 18-2-2-1, which operates as a bar to actions "regardless of to whom any such action or actions may accrue." Moreover, the disability statute does not come into play until after the applicable statute of limitations has run, Chaffin v. Nicosia, supra ; while the notice of claims statute is not a statute of limitations but a procedural precedent to the remedy of bringing an...

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27 cases
  • Martin v. Richey, Jr., M.D.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • July 8, 1999
    ...a facially constitutional statute may be unconstitutional as applied to a particular plaintiff. See City of Fort Wayne v. Cameron, 267 Ind. 329, 334, 370 N.E.2d 338, 341 (1977) (finding notice provision contained in Indiana Code section 18-2-2-1 (1977), while facially constitutional, was un......
  • Mack v. American Fletcher Nat. Bank and Trust Co.
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • July 22, 1987
    ...had two more years to bring their action if the period had otherwise expired. See IND. CODE 34-1-2-5; City of Fort Wayne v. Cameron (1977), 267 Ind. 329, 370 N.E.2d 338. Thus, even if the limitations on the 1966 amendment had run prior to 1972, the Beneficiaries still had to file their comp......
  • Alexander v. City of South Bend
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana
    • April 4, 2003 bring suit. Diaz v. Carpenter, 650 N.E.2d 688, 691-92 (Ind.Ct. App.1995). Nonetheless, Plaintiff cites City of Ft. Wayne v. Cameron, 267 Ind. 329, 370 N.E.2d 338 (1977), and attempts to draw a parallel between the plaintiff, a mentally incapacitated individual, and Plaintiff, who was inc......
  • Herron v. Anigbo
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • November 13, 2008
    ...constitute yet a third ground for tolling the limitations period which ultimately turns on an issue of fact. In City of Fort Wayne v. Cameron, 267 Ind. 329, 370 N.E.2d 338 (1977), we recognized that under article I, section 12's guarantee of a remedy by due course of law, unusual circumstan......
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