Bradley K. Buchanan, et al., Appellants-Plaintiffs,
State of Indiana, et al., Appellees-Defendants.
Attorney for Appellants Gregory W. Black Gregory W. Black,
P.C. Plainfield, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellees Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Aaron T. Craft Josiah Swinney Deputy Attorneys
General Indianapolis, Indiana
from the Putnam Circuit Court The Honorable Joseph D. Trout,
Special Judge The Honorable Christopher A. Newton, Special
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 67C01-1208-PL-332
of the Case
Bradley K. Buchanan appeals the trial court's judgment on
the pleadings in favor of the Indiana Department of Insurance
("IDOI") as well as the court's dismissal of
his claims against the Putnam County Prosecutor ("the
Prosecutor") for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.Buchanan raises five issues for our review,
which we restate as the following two issues:
1. Whether the trial court properly entered judgment on the
pleadings for IDOI on Buchanan's breach-of-contract
2. Whether the trial court properly dismissed Buchanan's
claims against the Prosecutor under the Indiana Tort Claims
Act, Ind. Code §§ 34-13-3-0.1 to -25 (2018).
and Procedural History
According to Buchanan's first amended complaint, in
September of 2008 he entered into a settlement agreement with
IDOI in which he agreed to surrender his license to practice
and sell insurance and IDOI agreed to terminate ongoing
investigations it was conducting against him. However, IDOI
expressly reserved in that contract the right to
"cooperate with any criminal investigation that has
been, or may be, initiated as a result of the allegations in
this matter." Appellees' App. Vol. II at 74.
Thereafter, IDOI cooperated with state and local law
enforcement in investigating the acts underlying
Buchanan's surrender of his license, Buchanan pleaded
guilty to one charge of felony theft brought by the
Prosecutor relating to those acts, and the trial court
sentenced Buchanan to a term of probation and home detention
in the Putnam County Community Corrections Program.
In July of 2011, while Buchanan was serving his home
detention, Putnam County police officers, in consultation
with the Prosecutor, obtained a search warrant for
Buchanan's residence on the assertion that Buchanan had
committed new, unrelated theft offenses. According to
Buchanan's complaint, the Prosecutor's
"motive" for obtaining the warrant "included a
personal animus toward Mr. Buchanan, born in part [out] of
political consideration." Id. at 66. The
complaint further alleged that the Prosecutor had obtained
the warrant based on "false,"
"unreasonable," and "reckless
pretenses" and without "probable cause."
Id. at 66-67. After obtaining the warrant, the
officers executed it, seized various vehicles, and arrested
Buchanan. The Prosecutor then filed various theft charges
against Buchanan based on the items seized. However, after
Buchanan had been in jail for forty-two days on those
allegations, the Prosecutor dismissed the charges.
Thereafter, Buchanan filed his first amended
complaint in which he sued IDOI and the Prosecutor.
In particular, Buchanan claimed that IDOI breached its
contract with him when it cooperated with state and local law
enforcement on the matters relating to the surrender of his
license. See id. at 59-61. Buchanan also sued the
Prosecutor for having maliciously and falsely obtained and
executed a search warrant for Buchanan's residence and
for having filed false charges against Buchanan, all of which
occurred during Buchanan's term of home detention.
Specifically, Buchanan alleged claims of trespass, malicious
prosecution, abuse of process, invasion of privacy, false
arrest, false imprisonment, improper confinement, emotional
distress, and defamation against the Prosecutor. Buchanan
also requested fees, costs, and treble damages.
IDOI moved for judgment on the pleadings under Indiana Trial
Rule 12(C). Relying on an assertion of immunity, the
Prosecutor moved for dismissal of Buchanan's claims under
Trial Rule 12(B)(6). Following a ...