Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Donovan v. Hoosier Park, LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 26, 2017

Thomas P. Donovan, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Hoosier Park, LLC d/b/a Hoosier Park, Racing & Casino, Centaur, Inc., Hoosier Park, L.P., Centaur Holdings, LLC, and Terrance Sollars, Jeremy Hosier, in his capacity as an employee of the Indiana Gaming Commission, Zach Wilkinson, in his capacity as an employee of the Indiana Gaming Commission, and Indiana Gaming Commission, Appellees-Defendants

         Appeal from the Madison Circuit Court The Honorable Angela Sims, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 48C01-1212-PL-204

          Attorneys for Appellant Laura B. Conway Mark W. Rutherford Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel, PC

          Attorneys for Appellee, State of Indiana Curtis T. Hill Attorney General of Indiana Kyle Hunter Deputy Attorney General Attorneys for Appellee, Hoosier Park, et al

          Scott E. Andres Charles J. Maiers Due Doyle Fanning & Alderfer, LLP

          May, Judge.

         [¶1] Thomas P. Donovan appeals the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of Hoosier Park, LLC d/b/a Hoosier Park, Racing & Casino, Centaur, Inc., Hoosier Park, L.P. and Centaur Holdings, LLC ("Hoosier Park"), and Terrance Sollars (collectively, "Hoosier Park Appellees"); Jeremy Hosier, in his capacity as an employee of the Indiana Gaming Commission, Zach Wilkinson, in his capacity as an employee of the Indiana Gaming Commission, and the Indiana Gaming Commission ("IGC") (collectively, "IGC Appellees") on his allegations of (1) false imprisonment, (2) wrongful arrest, (3) malicious prosecution, (4) abuse of process, and (5) battery. We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] Since 1999, Donovan has been making money at casinos by gambling as an "advantage player." (Appellant's App. Vol. III at 13.)[1] According to Donovan, "an advantage player plays games at casinos . . . by counting cards in blackjack or playing video poker games that are a near a [sic] 100 percent return." (Id.) In this time, Donovan has also been banned from a number casinos.[2]

         [¶3] On July 19, 2011, Hoosier Park sent Donovan a letter ("the July 19 letter") via certified mail informing him he was banned from Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, located in Anderson, Indiana, and its "Off-Track Betting facilities located in Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, and Merrillville, Indiana (Premises)." (Appellant's App. Vol. II at 35.) Hoosier Park mailed the July 19 letter to Donovan's address on file, however the address on the letter and envelope contained a typo, addressing it to "Thomas T. Donovan, " (id.), rather than Thomas P. Donovan. The July 19 letter notified Donovan he "may not return at any time to the Premises during the period of [his] ejection[, ]" (id.), and would be "considered a trespasser and subject to arrest" if he returned during that time. (Id.) Hoosier Park indicated the earliest Donovan would be eligible to apply for readmission was July 19, 2013, under the following conditions:

(a) You are not a threat to the safety of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino customers, yourself, employees and agents of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Indiana Gaming Commission and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission;
(b) You will gamble responsibly;
(c) You will not abuse drugs or alcohol while on the Premises;
(d) You will not cheat at a gambling game;
(e) You will not behave in a disruptive manner;
(f) You will not steal;
(g) You are not indebted to Hoosier Park Racing.

(Id.) The last sentence of the July 19 letter indicated Hoosier Park "regret[ted] the necessity to ban [Donovan] from the Premises, but believed such an action to be necessary and in the best interests of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and its patrons." (Id.) Donovan received the July 19 letter on July 21, 2011, and signed the certified mail receipt.

         [¶4] Donovan returned to Hoosier Park on July 22, 2011 and July 29, 2011. His presence went unnoticed both times by Hoosier Park's security team because he gambled using a "Player's Club" card[3] belonging to two other patrons, Jennifer Harker and Donald Harker, who were acquaintances of Donovan. After these two occasions, Hoosier Park's security team realized Donovan had been visiting Hoosier Park and was using the Harkers' Player's Club card to conceal his identity. Thus, the security team set an alert to trigger an alarm if the Harkers' Player's Club card was used again at the Casino.

         [¶5] On August 5, 2011, Donovan returned to Hoosier Park and used the Harkers' Player's Club card at a slot machine. His use of the card triggered the security alert, and the security team closely examined surveillance footage to confirm Donovan was indeed the person at the slot machine. Security called the IGC Squad Office on site, and informed IGC Agent Zach Wilkinson that Donovan, an "evicted patron, " (id. at 98), was on the property and was currently playing at a slot machine. Agent Wilkinson alerted IGC Agent Jeremy Hosier, who was also on duty.

         [¶6] Darlene Blevins, a Security Shift Supervisor at the casino, proceeded to the area of the casino where Donovan was playing the slot machines. Blevins approached Donovan, showed him a copy of the July 19 letter, reminded him he was banned from the premises, and told him he must leave immediately. Donovan signed the copy of the letter and began walking away. Agent Hosier then made his way down to the area of the casino where Donovan was. Agent Hosier briefly spoke about the situation with Blevins and Terrance Sollars, a Security Shift Manager at Hoosier Park.

         [¶7] Donovan went to a counter to redeem some tickets for cash and then began walking toward an exit of the casino. Agent Hosier, Agent Wilkinson, Blevins, and Sollars followed him. Agent Hosier approached Donovan and asked to speak with him about his trespassing, but Donovan said "[he] was leaving, [he] had the right to leave, " (Appellant's Prior Cause App. Vol. 2 at 408), and continued walking quickly toward the exit. Agent Hosier attempted to explain to Donovan he could not leave until he spoke with him about the trespassing crime he had just committed.

         [¶8] Donovan took an escalator and Agent Hosier took the stairs to catch up with Donovan. At the top of the escalator, Agent Hosier again asked Donovan to stop and asked for his identification. Donovan kept walking and ignored Agent Hosier as Agent Hosier walked alongside him. Agent Hosier then moved quickly to step in front of Donovan, told him to stop, and blocked him from exiting the doors of the casino. Donovan became loud and would not engage in a civil conversation with Agent Hosier. Agent Hosier informed Donovan he was being arrested for trespass and disorderly conduct. Agent Hosier began to handcuff Donovan, but Donovan resisted. Agent Wilkinson attempted to stabilize Donovan so Agent Hosier could handcuff him, but both agents were having trouble getting Donovan's arms behind his back. Blevins and Sollars then also aided in controlling Donovan so Donovan could be handcuffed. Donovan resisted so much he was eventually brought down to the ground by the IGC Agents and Hoosier Park's security employees. During the struggle to handcuff Donovan, Donovan knocked down a lamp and a decorative tree, spilled a fountain drink, and lost a shoe.

         [¶9] Agent Wilkinson and Agent Hosier escorted Donovan to the IGC Squad Office. Agent Hosier filed a probable cause affidavit for arrest, describing the events and noting Donovan admitted to Blevins he was aware of the July 19 letter as he had "given the eviction notice to his lawyer." (Id. at 99.) Sollars called the Anderson Police Department, who transported Donovan to jail.

         [¶10] The State charged Donovan with Count I: Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, [4] Count II: Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass, [5] and Count III: Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct.[6] In August 2012, the State dismissed Counts I and II and entered into a pretrial diversion agreement with Donovan regarding Count III.

         [¶11] On December 27, 2012, Donovan sued Hoosier Park Appellees and IGC Appellees alleging false imprisonment, wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and battery. Both Hoosier Park Appellees and IGC Appellees moved for summary judgment on all claims. The court held a hearing on all defendants' motions for summary judgment on May 6, 2015. On September 25, 2015, the court entered summary judgment in favor of all defendants on all claims. The trial court found Donovan waived all state law claims against the IGC Appellees by failing to provide the IGC Appellees timely notice within 270 days of the "loss, " as required by the Indiana Tort Claims Act ("ITCA"). Ind. Code § 34-13-3-6(a) (1998).

         [¶12] On October 20, 2015, Donovan filed a Motion to Correct Error. On October 23, 2015, the IGC Appellees filed a Motion to Correct Error, claiming the trial court erred in finding Donovan failed to timely file a notice of state tort claim. On November 30, 2015, the trial court granted the IGC Appellees' Motion to Correct Error, vacating the portion of its summary judgment order addressing the state tort claims against the IGC Appellees, and stating it would review the state tort claims against the IGC Appellees and issue a subsequent order on the merits of those issues. The trial court also denied Donovan's Motion to Correct Error.

         [¶13] Before the trial court issued its subsequent order on the remaining issues, Donovan filed a Notice of Appeal with this Court. The IGC Appellees filed a motion to remand to the trial court for resolution of the remaining state tort claims. On June 24, 2016, this Court granted the IGC Appellees' motion. On July 7, 2016, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the IGC Appellees as to the remaining state tort claims.

         Discussion ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.