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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ind. Decisions - "Former coach wins $200,000 verdict against Gary schools"

Reporting on yesterday's Supreme Court decision in the case of Gary Community School Corporation v. Tom Powell (see ILB entry here), Patrick Guinane writes today in the NWI Times:

INDIANAPOLIS | Gary Community School Corp. owes about $200,000 to a former Lew Wallace High School football coach demoted after a stint on the disabled list, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Tom Powell, who had become head coach a season earlier, developed a blood clot in his leg in July 2001 and missed two months of team activities. When he returned to teaching that October, an assistant had replaced him as coach.

Powell won a $207,000 verdict in 2006, after a Lake County jury ruled the school district violated the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which typically allows injured workers up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave. But the Indiana Court of Appeals last year said Powell's coaching was a separate part-time job and ruled he had not accumulated enough work hours in the post to qualify for the unpaid leave.

The state Supreme Court reversed that ruling Tuesday in 4-1 decision and sent the case back to Lake County civil court with instructions to modify Powell's award. But an attorney said Gary Community School Corp. will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

"We think that we have a chance because at the end of the day this a federal question, because it's a federal law that's at play," said John Reed, an attorney for the school district. "We plan to press forward at this time and see where we can take it."

Here is Christin Nance Lazerus' story in the Gary Post Tribune.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 20, 2009 08:37 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions