from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable James A. Joven,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49D13-1601-PL-158
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Nathaniel J. Heber Atlanta, Georgia.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES Pamela G. Schneeman Office of
Corporation Counsel Indianapolis, Indiana.
David Heber appeals the trial court's dismissal of his
complaint against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Department ("IMPD") and the Office of Corporation
Counsel of the City of Indianapolis ("OCC")
(collectively "the Appellees"). We reverse and
sole restated issue is whether the trial court properly
concluded that the Appellees could not be sued under the
Indiana Access to Public Records Act ("APRA").
facts as alleged in Heber's complaint are that, on May
16, 2015, Heber and another individual were robbed at
gunpoint in Indianapolis. IMPD investigated the case, which
resulted in charges being filed against an individual six
days later. Heber requested and received from IMPD a copy of
the Incident Report for the robbery generated on May 16,
June 26, 2015, Heber filed a request with IMPD and the OCC
for records related to the robbery aside from the initial
Incident Report, pursuant to the APRA. The OCC's public
access counselor, Samantha DeWester, denied this request,
stating that Heber had failed to specify which records he was
seeking with reasonable particularity. On July 15, 2015,
Heber filed a second, more detailed request for records
related to the robbery. DeWester denied this second request,
again on the basis that it lacked reasonable particularity.
August 2, 2015, Heber filed a complaint with the Indiana
Public Access Counselor, Luke Britt, with respect to the
Appellees' failure to provide him with the requested
records. On September 15, 2015, Britt filed an advisory
opinion stating his belief that the Appellees violated the
APRA by not timely responding to the June 26, 2015 records
request and that they were not justified in denying either
request on the basis of an alleged lack of reasonable
particularity. After issuance of this advisory opinion,
the Appellees did not provide the requested records to Heber.
December 26, 2015, Heber filed a complaint in the trial court
against the Appellees, seeking release of the requested
records, along with an award of reasonable costs, attorney
fees, and civil penalties. On January 19, 2016, the Appellees
filed a motion to dismiss Heber's complaint. The motion
alleged solely that the Appellees were not entities that
could be sued under the APRA. The trial court granted the
motion to dismiss. Heber now appeals.
Appellees' motion to dismiss alleged that Heber's
complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be
granted, pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(6). We review a
trial court's grant of such a motion de novo.
Lockhart v. State, 38 N.E.3d 215, 217 (Ind.Ct.App.
2015). We accept as true the facts alleged in a complaint
when assessing a ruling on a motion to dismiss, considering
the pleadings in a light most favorable to the plaintiff and
drawing every reasonable inference in favor of the plaintiff.
Id. We will affirm dismissal of a ...