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John A. Logan v. Donna Wilkins

July 8, 2011


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:09-cv-00282-WTL-DML-William T. Lawrence, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Williams, Circuit Judge.


Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and MANION and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

John A. Logan claims that the defendants, who are local government officials and a private individual, conspired to deprive him of a mobile home park he owned in Indiana, in violation of his constitutional rights. Much of the defendants' alleged wrongdoing occurred more than two years before Logan filed this lawsuit. Because Logan's claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations, we find that any claims arising from wrongdoing that occurred more than two years before this lawsuit was filed are time barred.

We also find that Logan failed to challenge on appeal the district court's dismissal of the claims that were not time barred, and that he therefore waived any contention that the court erroneously dismissed those claims. Even if there had been no waiver, we find that Logan's allegations do not give rise to a claim for conspiracy to violate any rights protected by 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as Logan claims.

Finally, we decline to exercise our power to remand this case to the district court to allow Logan to amend his complaint because Logan does not point to any additional facts that would cure the deficiencies in his complaint. Therefore, we affirm the district court's judgment.


On March 6, 2009, plaintiff-appellant John A. Logan sued defendants-appellees, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1981. Logan claims that the defendants deprived him of the full use of a mobile home park he owned in Delaware County, Indiana. The defendants allegedly wanted the property developed into something other than a mobile home park.

According to Logan, the wrongdoing began in 2005, when defendant Phil Taylor, who worked for the Zoning Board of the City of Muncie, Indiana, spread the word to Logan's tenants that the Muncie, Indiana Health Department was going to close down Logan's mobile home park. In November 2005, defendant Christine DelyStintson, who worked for the Delaware County Health Department, toured the property and allegedly told Logan's tenants to stop paying rent and to vacate the property. Following that visit, thirteen of Logan's tenants left, causing him severe financial difficulties.

On September 6, 2006, defendant Donna Wilkins, the Commissioner of the Delaware County Health Department, commenced an action against Logan in connection with the mobile home park. On October 27, 2006, the Delaware Circuit Court ordered the removal of thirteen mobile homes from the park. Logan did not appeal that ruling. He claims that no one advised him that he had ten days to appeal, in violation of his Due Process rights. In the alternative, he claims that he did not appeal because he is bipolar and does not do well under stress. He alleges that everyone in the community, including the defendants, knew that he was bipolar, and that the defendants took a series of (unspecified) steps to ensure that he would be under stress by the time he received the ruling from the circuit court.

Armed with the circuit court's order, defendant Wilkins hired defendant Rodney Barber, an allegedly inept contractor, to demolish the homes. Barber was allegedly unlicensed, uninsured, and did not have a permit to remove debris. Logan claims that Wilkins hired Barber because she wanted to split contract fees with him.

Instead of demolishing the thirteen homes specified in the circuit court's order, Barber allegedly demolished fourteen homes. Barber also failed to cap public utility lines, stole some of Logan's property, and did not clean up the site. Logan claims that Barber's incompetent handling of the demolition job caused him additional financial harm and made attracting good tenants more difficult. Logan also claims that Barber acted at the direction of defendants Dely-Stintson, and Joshua Williams, another county health department employee.

When Logan discovered the property damage, he filed a report with the Delaware County Sheriff, defendant George Sheridan. According to Logan, the complaint was never investigated. As a result of all of these actions, which Logan claims were part of a conspiracy among the defendants to deprive him of his property, Logan lost the mobile home park in foreclosure on September 26, 2007. Under Indiana's landlord-tenant laws, a change of ownership on leased premises allegedly has no effect on the rights of tenants under their leases. But on December 19, 2007, Sheriff Sheridan allegedly attempted to enforce the final decree of fore-closure by ordering his deputy, defendant Beth Robbins, to enter the mobile home park and order the tenants to vacate. Logan claims that these post-foreclosure actions were also part of the conspiracy.

In July 2009, the district court dismissed Logan's complaint. The court found that all of Logan's pre-March 6, 2007 claims (which included all of the claims relating to the damage caused to the property by defendant Barber) were barred by the two-year statute of limitations governing actions brought under ยง 1983. The court reasoned that Logan's claims began to accrue when he realized, or should have realized, that his constitutional rights had been infringed. Because Logan knew that he was injured each time the defendants engaged in an allegedly unlawful act, the court found that the statute of limitations began to run for each act when it was committed. The court also concluded that it ...

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