Stephan M. Poiry, Appellant-Plaintiff,
City of New Haven, Indiana, Appellee-Defendant.
from the Allen Superior Court The Honorable Craig J. Bobay,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 02D02-1711-MI-1046
Attorneys for Appellant David W. Stone IV Stone Law Office
& Legal Research Anderson, Indiana, Loren K. Allison Fort
Attorneys for Appellee Ann M. Trzynka Andrew P. Simmons Van
Gilder & Trzynka, P.C. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Stephan M. Poiry ("Poiry") appeals the trial
court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the
City of New Haven, Indiana ("the City") and the
denial of his motion to correct error. Poiry raises the
following issue for our review: whether the trial court erred
when it granted summary judgment to the City and denied his
motion to correct error because Poiry failed to file a bond
simultaneously with his verified petition for judicial review
of the City of New Haven Police Department's Merit Board
We reverse and remand with instructions.
and Procedural History
Poiry was and currently is a police officer employed with the
City of New Haven Police Department. On August 7, 2017, the
Chief of Police for the City filed disciplinary charges
against Poiry. Appellant's App. Vol. II at
35-36. On September 26, 2017, the New Haven Police Department
Merit Board ("the Board") conducted a hearing on
the disciplinary charges. The parties attended the hearing
with their attorneys, testimony was heard, and exhibits
introduced. On September 28, 2017, the Board issued its
ruling, in which it found that the disciplinary charges had
been proven and that Poiry should be demoted in rank.
Id. at 44-46. Poiry filed an appeal with the Board
on September 28, 2017, which the Board denied on October 27,
2017. Id. at 55.
On November 16, 2017, Poiry filed a complaint against the
City seeking judicial review of the Board's decision.
Poiry did not post a bond at the time he filed his complaint.
Poiry knew that the statute for appeals from municipal merit
boards applied and was "fully aware that a bond was
required as part of [the] filing for this judicial
review." Id. at. 110, 145. At the time that the
complaint was filed, Poiry inquired with employees of the
Allen County Clerk's Office ("Clerk's
Office") about posting a bond and was told that the
Clerk's Office would not accept a bond without a judge
setting the amount. Id. at 110, 146.
After Poiry filed his complaint, he did not file anything
with the trial court to attempt to set a bond amount. On
January 11, 2018, Poiry filed a motion for summary judgment
against the City, alleging that the City failed to file a
transcript pursuant to Indiana Code section
36-8-3.5-18(b)(5). On January 29, 2018, the City filed a
motion to dismiss based on Poiry's failure to post a bond
pursuant to Indiana Code section 36-8-3.5-18(b)(4). A case
management conference was held on the same day, and after the
conference, Poiry went to the Clerk's Office, where he
spoke to a deputy clerk about posting a bond and was told the
court had to determine the bond amount. Id. at 115.
The deputy clerk then allowed Poiry to post whatever amount
Poiry "wished," and Poiry paid the sum of $100.
Id. at 116-17.
On March 8, 2018, the trial court heard oral arguments on
both motions filed by the parties. Because matters outside
the pleadings were presented in the City's motion to
dismiss, the trial court treated the motion as a motion for
summary judgment. Id. at 11. On April 5, 2018, the
trial court issued its order granting summary judgment in
favor of the City. Id. at 8-16. Poiry filed a motion
to correct error on April 20, 2018. The trial court denied
Poiry's motion on May 23, 2018. Poiry now appeals.
Poiry is appealing after a denial of a motion to correct
error. Generally, a trial court's ruling on a motion to
correct error is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.
Ind. Bureau of Motor Vehicles v. Watson, 70 N.E.3d
380, 384 (Ind.Ct.App. 2017). An abuse of discretion occurs
when the trial court's decision is against the logic and
effect of the facts and circumstances before the court or if
the court has misinterpreted the law. Id. However,
where the issues raised in the motion are questions of law,
the standard of review is de novo. City of Indianapolis
v. Hicks, 932 N.E.2d 227, 230 (Ind.Ct.App. 2010),
trans. denied. Here, Poiry's motion to correct
error raised questions regarding the trial court's
interpretation of a statute. Because the interpretation of a
statute presents questions of law, our standard of review is
de novo. Watson, 70 N.E.3d at 384.
Poiry's motion to correct error alleged that the trial
court had erred when it granted summary judgment in favor of
the City. When reviewing the grant of summary judgment, our
standard of review is the same as that of the trial court.
Webb v. City of Carmel, 101 N.E.3d 850, 860
(Ind.Ct.App. 2018) (citing FLM, LLC v. Cincinnati Ins.
Co., 973 N.E.2d 1167, 1173 (Ind.Ct.App. 2012),
trans. denied). We stand in the shoes of the trial
court and apply a de novo standard of review. Id.
Our review of a summary judgment motion is limited to those
materials designated to the trial court. Ind. Trial Rule
56(H); Robson v. Tex. E. Corp., 833 N.E.2d 461, 466
(Ind.Ct.App. 2005), trans. denied. Summary judgment
is appropriate only where the designated evidence shows there
are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. T.R. 56(C). We
view the pleadings and designated materials in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Webb, 101 N.E.3d
at 860. Additionally, all facts and reasonable inferences
from those facts are construed in favor of the non-moving
party. Id. (citing FLM, 973 N.E.2d at