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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ind. Decisions - "Court says Mittal didn't defame worker"

The Supreme Court's June 17th decision in Christine Dugan v. Mittal Steel, USA, Inc., et al. (ILB summary here) is the subject of a brief story today in the Gary Post-Tribune by Christin Nance Lazerus. A quote:

According to the ruling, Christine Dugan was working for Mittal Steel in 2004 when a supervisor, Jay Komorowski, made statements about the Dugan to other employees.

Komorowski told company investigators he suspected Dugan of stealing time by working in a "core exchange" scheme with her boss, as well as an air compressor from Mittal. Dugan argued that the statements are false.

Dugan was eventually discharged by Mittal, and she then filed a grievance.

In the ensuing arbitration, Mittal Steel was ordered to reinstate her with back pay. After her reinstatement, Dugan filed a defamation suit.

The court determined that only one of the statements qualified as defamation per se, and it was protected by qualified privilege since Kom-orowski was helping with an internal investigation that resulted in criminal charges.

The court found his statements were based on years of gathering information from others with knowledge and that his resulting concerns and opinions were expressed to the security chief in good faith.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 19, 2010 06:19 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions