A pro se plaintiff who claimed property seized from him in a “strip cell” disciplinary action and wasn’t returned will have his day in court after the Indiana Court of Appeals reinstated his claim Friday.
Abdullah Alkhalidi claims that property valued at more than $419 was taken from him in 2012 while he was an inmate at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. He filed grievances after he was transferred to Westville Correctional Facility but was told to file with Wabash. He sent a letter asking for an appeal but received no response.
Alkhalidi filed a replevin action in small claims court in 2013, but the court dismissed the suit, finding he had failed to exhaust DOC’s administrative remedies. Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the court that decision was clearly erroneous.
“The small claims court had subject matter jurisdiction to consider Alkhalidi’s replevin claim,” Barnes wrote, “The DOC, not Alkhalidi, had to burden of proving that Alkhalidi failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing his claim. Because the DOC did not prove such, the small claims court erroneously dismissed Alkhalidi’s claim.”
The case is Abdullah Alkhalidi v. Indiana Department of Correction, 77A01-1406-SC-278.