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Friday, June 18, 2010

ind. Decisions - Supreme Court posts June 17th opinion

In Christine Dugan v. Mittal Steel, USA, Inc., et al. , an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:

In this action for defamation per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff appeals from the grant of summary judgment for the defendants. The Court of Appeals reversed in part. Dugan v. Mittal Steel USA, Inc., 911 N.E.2d 692 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009). We granted transfer and now affirm the grant of summary judgment, concluding that the material facts are not in dispute and that a qualified privilege applies to preclude the defamation action.

The plaintiff, Christine Dugan, was working for Mittal Steel in 2004 when the defendant Jay Komorowski, a supervisor at Mittal Steel, made statements about the plaintiff to other Mittal Steel employees. Mittal Steel eventually discharged the plaintiff, and she then filed a grievance. In the ensuing arbitration, Mittal Steel was ordered to reinstate her with back pay. Appellant's App'x at 77. After her reinstatement, the plaintiff instituted this action against Komorowski and Mittal Steel. The defendants sought summary judgment, which the trial court granted, finding (a) that neither statement constituted defamation per se, (b) that both statements were protected by a qualified privilege and there was no evidence of abuse of privilege, and (c) that the claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress was not supported. The plaintiff appealed only as to the defamation claims.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 18, 2010 08:23 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions