Suit rightly decided for IMPD detective, appeals court rules

March 17, 2016

A plaintiff who sought to sue an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police detective for alleged abuses related to a drug search failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that the officer could be held personally liable.

The COA affirmed summary judgment in favor of the detective in Toni Ball v. Clifton Jones, 49A02-1504-CT-210. A Marion Superior trial court ruled in favor of Detective Jones, finding he was immune from personal liability under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

Jones had been investigating cocaine and heroin trafficking involving the Detroit Boys gang and connected Ball to facilitating alleged drug house visits. He filed a probable cause affidavit that resulted in Class B felony drug charges against Ball, but the charges were dropped a month later in early 2011 when it was determined Ball wasn’t the person suspected of committing the crimes.

Ball sued in federal court but the suit was decided in favor of Jones and city defendants because a tort claim notice had not been timely filed. The decision ultimately was affirmed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and transferred at Ball’s request to the Marion Superior trial court, where Ball argued to hold Jones personally liable for false arrest and wrongful imprisonment.

“(W)e conclude that the trial court properly granted summary judgment to Detective Jones, holding that, as a matter of law, his actions were within the course and scope of his employment,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the unanimous panel.



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