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McIntire v. Franklin Twp. Cmty. Sch. Corp.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 18, 2014

LINDA D. McINTIRE, and those similarly situated, Appellants-Plaintiffs,
v.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION, Appellee-Defendant

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable John F. Hanley, Judge. Cause No. 49D11-1112-PL-45962.

FOR APPELLANT: CHRISTOPHER K. STARKEY, Indianapolis, Indiana.

FOR APPELLEE: V. SAMUEL LAURIN III, BRYAN H. BABB, JOEL T. NAGLE, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana.

MATHIAS, Judge, FRIEDLANDER, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 132

MATHIAS, Judge

Linda McIntire (" McIntire" ) appeals the Marion Superior Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Franklin Township Community School Corporation (" the School Corporation" ). On appeal, McIntire argues that the trial court erred in concluding: (1) that her claim was barred by her failure to provide the required notice under the Indiana Tort Claims Act (" ITCA" ), and (2) that Article 8, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution does not provide for a private cause of action for monetary damages. We conclude that the trial court erred in concluding that McIntire's claim was subject to the notice requirements

Page 133

of the ITCA but nevertheless affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment because McIntire may not maintain a claim for monetary damages under Article 8, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution

Facts and Procedural History

The facts underlying this appeal are undisputed. McIntire lived in Franklin Township in Marion County during the 2011-2012 school year. During this school year, the School Corporation charged certain fees to students in grades 9 through 12, including: (1) a $1.50 locker fee, (2) a $1.50 newspaper fee for each student who received a newspaper, (3) a $2.00 activity fee, (4) a $3.00 ID fee, (5) a $10.00 technology fee, (6) a $4.00 student planner fee, and (7) a textbook rental fee based on the formula set forth in the relevant Indiana statutes. McIntire paid these fees for her children, who attended schools operated by the School Corporation.

McIntire believed that these fees were impermissible under the Education Clause, found in Article 8, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution.[1] Accordingly, on December 2, 2011, McIntire filed a complaint for damages and injunctive relief claiming that the School Corporation was violating the Indiana Constitution by charging these fees. The complaint sought an injunction preventing the School Corporation from collecting the fees and demanded the return of the fees already paid. The School Corporation filed its answer on February 15, 2012, setting forth several affirmative defenses, including that McIntire had not complied with the notice provisions of the ITCA. The School Corporation also claimed that the Education Clause did not provide McIntire with a cause of action for monetary damages.

On July 24, 2013, the School Corporation filed a motion for summary judgment. After receiving an extension of time in which to respond to this motion, McIntire filed her response on September 6, 2013, in which she admitted that she did not file an ITCA notice. She claimed, however, that such notice was not required. The trial court held a summary judgment hearing on September 16, 2013, and took the matter under advisement. On September 30, 2013, the trial court entered an order granting the School Corporation's motion for summary judgment, concluding that McIntire's claim was barred because she had failed to comply with the notice requirements of the ITCA and because the Education Clause of the Indiana Constitution did not provide her with a right to a cause of action against the School Corporation for monetary damages. McIntire now appeals.

Summary Judgment

The standard of review we apply on review of a trial court's order granting or denying summary judgment is well settled:

Our standard for reviewing a trial court's order granting a motion for summary judgment is well settled. A trial court should grant a motion for summary judgment only when the evidence shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. The trial court's grant of a motion for summary judgment comes

Page 134

to us cloaked with a presumption of validity. An appellate court reviewing a trial court summary judgment ruling likewise construes all facts and reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party and determines whether the moving party has shown from the designated evidentiary matter that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. But a de novo standard of review applies where the dispute is one of law rather than fact. We examine only those materials designated to the trial court on the motion for summary judgment. [Where] the trial court ma[kes] findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its entry of summary judgment, . . . we are not bound by the trial court's findings and conclusions, ...

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