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Martin v. Hunt

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 19, 2019

Kevin Martin, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Hon. Hugh Hunt, et al., Appellee-Defendants

          Appeal from the Sullivan Circuit Court The Honorable Christopher A. Newton, Special Judge Trial Court Cause No. 77C01-1804-CT-166.

          APPELLANT PRO SE Kevin Martin.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Abigail R. Recker Deputy Attorney General.

          May, Judge.

         [¶1] Kevin Martin appeals the trial court's order dismissing his complaint against the Honorable Hugh Hunt, individually and in his personal capacity; Sullivan Circuit Court Clerk Peggy Goodman; and Indiana Department of Correction ("DOC") employees Brenda Hinton and Charles Dugan (collectively, "Defendants"). We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On April 11, 2018, Martin filed a complaint against Defendants alleging various violations of his due process rights stemming from an incident involving DOC librarian Hinton and a disagreement regarding a copying request Martin made. Martin requested he be released from prison as a result of his pain and suffering in the matter. In July 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On August 27, 2018, Martin filed leave to file an amended complaint, which the trial court treated as an amended complaint.

         [¶3] On August 29, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing Judge Hunt had judicial immunity; the court lacked jurisdiction to release Martin from prison as requested; the same case was pending before the Indiana Court of Appeals; and the action was contrary to public policy. On October 4, 2018, the trial court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss finding it lacked jurisdiction to release Martin from prison; Judge Hunt was judicially immune from the actions alleged in Martin's complaint; the same case was pending before the Indiana Supreme Court on a petition to transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals; and "[b]ecause the plaintiff is engaging in serial litigation, suing those involved in orders in previous cases with which he does not agree, this action is contrary to public policy and must, for that reason, be dismissed." (Appellees' App. Vol. II at 37.)

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶4] As an initial matter, we note Martin appeared before the trial court and in this appeal pro se. It is well settled that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys, and thus they are required to follow procedural rules. Evans v. State, 809 N.E.2d 338, 344 (Ind.Ct.App. 2004), trans. denied. Fatal to Martin's appeal is his non-compliance with several sections of Indiana Appellate Rule 46, which has also been the reason for dismissal or waiver of issues in several other appeals Martin has filed. See Martin v. Howe, et. al., 18A-CT-680, 2018 WL 5956300 (Ind.Ct.App. November 14, 2018) (dismissal of appeal based, in part, on Martin's failure to make a cogent argument), trans. denied; Martin v. Brown, et. al., 18A-CT-2940, 2019 WL 1217796 (Ind.Ct.App. March 15, 2019) (affirmed dismissal of complaint based on violations of Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure), trans. denied; Martin v. Gilbert, et. al., 18A-CT-2095, 20149 WL 2363327 (Ind.Ct.App. June 5, 2019) (affirmed dismissal of complaint based on violations of Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure), trans. pending.

         [¶5] Specifically, Martin's appellate brief did not include a Statement of the Case or a Statement of the Facts, both of which are required pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 46(A)(5) and Indiana Appellate Rule 46(A)(6) respectively. In addition, his brief includes several violations of Indiana Appellate Rules 46(A)(8)(a)-(b), which require, in relevant part:

(8) Argument. This section shall contain the appellant's contentions why the trial court or Administrative Agency committed reversible error.
(a) The argument must contain the contentions of the appellant on the issues presented, supported by cogent reasoning. Each contention must be supported by citations to the authorities, statutes, and the Appendix or parts of the Record on Appeal relied on, in accordance with Rule 22.
(b) The argument must include for each issue a concise statement of the applicable standard of review; this statement may appear in the discussion of each issue or under a separate heading placed before the discussion of the issues. In addition, the argument must include a brief statement of the procedural and substantive facts necessary for consideration of the issues presented on appeal, including a statement of how ...

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