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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides two from Indiana today

In Patton, Brenda v. Keystone RV Co (ND Ind., Robert L. Miller Jr., Chief Judge), an 11-page opinion, Judge Kanne writes:

This appeal requires us to determine whether the facts of this employment discrimination case constitute an objectively hostile work environment supporting a claim of constructive discharge. The district court thought the case fell short of a hostile work environment, and, therefore, granted summary judgment for the employer. We disagree, and remand for trial. * * *

We think this case, while possibly falling short of the conduct in Taylor and Brooms, meets the standard for a constructive discharge. The picture painted here is not that of an employee offended by a boorish supervisor, or even that of an employee having his or her emotional resolve seriously chipped away on a daily basis by a working environment riddled with sexual harassment. This case presents more: a reasonable fact finder could agree with Patton’s fear that her supervisor was an obsessed man who—based on previous acts showing no regard for Patton’s right to control who could touch intimate areas of her body—was capable of, and desirous of, physically assaulting her in a serious way. We need not conclude that a rape or other assault was likely, but only whether a reasonable fact finder could find that Patton should have quit immediately to protect herself. We think the answer is yes.

Accordingly, we REVERSE the grant of summary judgment and REMAND for trial.
In Grigsby, Anthony v. Cotton, Zettie (SD Ind., John Daniel Tinder, Judge), an 11-page opinion, Judge Manion writes:
In 1988 an Indiana state court enhanced Anthony Grigsby’s sentence for attempted armed robbery to 50 years’ imprisonment because the court found he was a habitual offender. He had pleaded guilty to armed robbery in 1978 and had been convicted of burglary in 1986. Grigsby filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in April 2004, alleging, as relevant to this appeal, that his 1978 guilty plea was unconstitutional because the state failed to provide him counsel during his juvenile waiver hearing (Grigsby was 16 years old when he was arrested). Thus the conviction, he argued, could not properly have been used to enhance his 1988 sentence. The district court denied the petition and this court granted Grigsby a certificate of appealability. See Grigsby v. Cotton, No. 04-3356 (7th Cir. Apr. 14, 2005). We affirm the denial of relief.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 1, 2006 01:05 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions