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Scott v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

May 7, 2014

Kipp A. Scott, Plaintiff,
v.
State of Indiana, a/k/a Tippecanoe County Government[1], Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kipp Scott originally filed this case against Defendant Tippecanoe County Government, alleging that his discharge as Chief Probation Officer in Tippecanoe County was retaliation for his taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and further violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). (Compl. 1-6, ECF No. 2.) Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, contending it failed to state an actionable claim. (Mot. to Dismiss 2, ECF No. 10.) For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint.

Since 1989, Plaintiff has worked for the Tippecanoe County Government. (Am. Compl. 2, ECF No. 6.) In April 2013, Plaintiff's health began to deteriorate; thus, on May 20, 2013, he sought medical leave under the FMLA. (Am. Compl. 2.) On July 29, 2013, Plaintiff met with two supervising judges and a human resources representative who, according to the Amended Complaint, offered him the option of resigning or otherwise being terminated. (Am. Compl. 3.) According to Plaintiff, the only explanation he received was that it was a "unanimous decision by the judges." (Am. Compl. 3.) Later that same day, Plaintiff was terminated "for cause." (Am. Compl. 3.)

When addressing a motion to dismiss, a court must assume that all facts as set forth in the complaint are true and must view the allegations in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Singer v. Pierce & Assocs., P.C., 383 F.3d 596, 597 (7th Cir. 2004). Granting a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is suitable when "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Lee v. City of Chicago, 330 F.3d 456, 459 (7th Cir. 2003) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). A party's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) "challenges the sufficiency of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 520-21 (7th Cir. 2001).

Plaintiff brought his ADA and FMLA claims against the "State of Indiana a/k/a Tippecanoe County" after he was allegedly "discriminated against and terminated on the basis of a serious medical condition." (Am. Compl. 3.) Defendant (Tippecanoe County Government) filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint contending that Plaintiff filed the action against the wrong party because Plaintiff was not a county employee but was rather employed by the state. (Mot. to Dismiss 2.) In determining whether Plaintiff was a state or county employee, the federal court is guided by state law. McMillian v. Monroe County, 520 U.S. 781, 786 (1997). Under Indiana law, "[p]robation is an arm of the court, it like the court itself is a state entity." J.A.W. v. State, 650 N.E.2d 1142, 1150 (Ind.Ct.App. 1995); see Ind. Code ยง 11-13-1-1(c) ("Probation officers shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing court and are directly responsible to and subject to the orders of that court."). Notably, Plaintiff also concedes in his Response and Sur-Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss that the proper Defendant is the State of Indiana, not Tippecanoe County. (Resp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 12; Sur-Resp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 16).

Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiff is unable to prove any set of facts entitling him to relief against Defendant Tippecanoe County Government. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS its Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 10).[2]

SO ORDERED.


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