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Hatch v. Brita

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 21, 2014

RONRICO J. HATCH, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
KATHLEEN BRITA, Appellee-Defendant

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE ALLEN SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Brian D. Cook, Magistrate. Cause No. 02D01-1304-SC-7180.

RONRICO J. HATCH, APPELLANT, Pro se, Michigan City, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: ADAM L. HAND, Beckman Lawson, LLP, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

SHEPARD, Senior Judge. NAJAM, J., and BARNES, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

SHEPARD, Senior Judge

A prisoner who pled guilty to murder sued his friend in small claims court nine years later, on grounds the friend failed to pay the prisoner's paternity costs even though she agreed to do so in the course of persuading him to plead guilty. The court dismissed the case upon the friend's motion, which asserted the limitation period had passed. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In 2004, Ronrico Hatch avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to murder for a sentence of life without parole. Nine years later in April 2013, he sued Kathleen Brita in small claims court. The following allegations are from Hatch's amended notice of claim.

On February 11, 2004, the defense attorneys in Hatch's murder case sought the assistance of his friend Brita to persuade him to plead guilty. After hours of negotiations, the complaint alleged, Hatch and Brita agreed orally that Hatch would enter into a plea agreement and Brita would in turn " pay for any and all expenses incurred to establish the paternity [of] and visitation" with his alleged minor child. Appellant's App. p. 14. Hatch pled guilty the same day.

A paternity action was filed later that month, but the court told Hatch that $660 was required for testing before the case could proceed. Hatch immediately informed Brita of the cost, but she did not pay. In July 2004, Hatch told Brita the paternity test had yet to be conducted due to lack of payment, and she said she would see that arrangements were made. Hatch continually sought performance from Brita, the notice of claim said, but she failed to pay.

In June 2007, Hatch and Brita entered into another agreement in which Hatch would not sue Brita if she testified about the circumstances surrounding his guilty plea. Hatch contacted Brita in December 2012 about ...


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