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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 5 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In Caterpillar Inc. v. William Sudlow, a 9-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

Caterpillar, Inc., appeals the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of William Sudlow. Sudlow was a Caterpillar employee who was fired after another employee observed a partially visible gun in Sudlow’s vehicle in the Caterpillar parking lot. The trial court entered summary judgment in Sudlow’s favor because it found that Caterpillar’s policy did not prohibit the conduct for which Sudlow was fired. Finding that Sudlow is not entitled to relief under statute or common law, we reverse the summary judgment order and the damages award and remand with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of Caterpillar. * * *

According to the plain and unambiguous language of the statute, the reasonable and responsible possession of firearms—the protected activity—is defined as a firearm that is locked in the trunk, kept in the glove compartment, or stored out of plain sight in the employee’s locked vehicle. Here, Sudlow’s conduct did not fall into that category; as a result, it was not protected by the Firearms Statute.

Caterpillar’s Firearms Policy did not prohibit statutorily protected conduct. Furthermore, its interpretation of its Firearms Policy also did not prohibit protected conduct. Consequently, Sudlow is not entitled to relief under the Firearms Statute. * * *

The Firearms Statute is the best expression of Indiana’s public policy regarding the right to transport and store firearms at work. And while this statute does confer a right to store a weapon in a trunk, glove compartment, or out of sight in a locked vehicle, it simply does not confer a right to store a weapon in a vehicle in plain sight. It is apparent, therefore, that in this case, there was no contravention of a clear statutory expression of a right. As a result, the public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine does not apply, and Sudlow is not entitled to relief under the common law.

The judgment of the trial court is reversed and remanded with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of Caterpillar.

NFP civil decisions today (4):

In the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Z.S. (Minor Child) and M.S. (Mother) v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec.)

Mark Kramer v. Thomas Kramer (mem. dec.)

Elaine Adams v. Heather Stavropoulos (mem. dec.)

Kenneth W. Gibbs v. Wendy Knight, Lieutenant B. St. John, Mr. Helming, and Robert Fox (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

Gordon Childress v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 3, 2016 12:24 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions