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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 opinion(s) today (and 2 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (3):

In David McCollough v. Noblesville Schools and Jeff Bryant , a 25-page opinion, Judge Altice writes:

David McCollough filed a complaint against Noblesville Schools and Jeff Bryant, Principal of Noblesville High School (Bryant) (collectively, the Defendants) in which he asserted claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, breach of contract, and tortious interference with a contract/business relationship. McCollough also claimed that his due process rights were violated. The Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court held a hearing and thereafter denied summary judgment as to McCollough’s defamation claim, but granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants on all remaining claims. In this interlocutory appeal, McCollough challenges the grant of summary judgment while the Defendants cross-appeal the denial of summary judgment with regard to the defamation claim. * * *

In summary, we conclude that the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants on McCollough’s claims for IIED, breach of contract, tortious interference with a business relationship/contract, and negligence. We also conclude that the trial court properly denied the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to McCollough’s defamation claim.

In Ron Shoemaker v. Indiana State Police Department , a 15-page opinion, Judge Altice writes:
Ronald Shoemaker, a law enforcement officer with the Indiana State Police Department (ISP) for well over twenty years, was demoted in rank and pay in 2013 shortly after a new Superintendent of ISP was appointed. Shoemaker believes that the demotion was the result of a whistleblower report he filed with his supervisor about four years earlier. Pursuant to Ind. Code § 4-15-10-4, the Whistleblower Law (the WBL), Shoemaker initiated an administrative appeal of his demotion. After his action was dismissed by the administrative law judge (the ALJ) for being untimely filed, Shoemaker did not pursue judicial review of the administrative decision. He filed the instant breach of contract action instead. ISP sought summary judgment on the ground that Shoemaker failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and could not bring an action for breach of contract under the WBL. The trial court granted ISP’s motion for summary judgment, and Shoemaker appeals. * * *

We hold that a state employee seeking redress for an employment action allegedly taken in retaliation for whistleblowing activity must proceed with, and only with, the remedy expressly provided in the WBL.6 Shoemaker began his administrative appeal with the SEAC but did not seek judicial review of the ALJ’s determination that the administrative appeal was untimely filed. Accordingly, the trial court properly granted ISP’s motion for summary judgment in this separate breach of contract action filed by Shoemaker.

In James L. McGraw v. State of Indiana , a 7-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:
On September 9, 2015, Appellee-Plaintiff the State the Indiana (“the State”) charged McGraw with two counts of Level 5 felony battery resulting in bodily injury to a pregnant woman and one count of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Eventually, the case proceeded to a bench trial, during which the trial court found Lance to be an unavailable witness and struck her testimony. Following conclusion of the State’s case-in-chief, McGraw moved for dismissal of the charges pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 41(B) (“Trial Rule 41(B)”). The trial court granted McGraw’s motion, allowed the State to proceed on the lesser-included offense of Class A misdemeanor battery, and found McGraw guilty of this lesser-included offense. The trial court then sentenced McGraw to a term of 365 days, with sixty-five of those days suspended.

On appeal, McGraw contends that because the trial court’s sentencing order reflects that the original charges were dismissed, but does not designate that the dismissal of the charges constituted an adjudication of the charges on the merits, the sentencing order must be amended to clearly reflect as such. The State argues that no amendment to the sentencing order is necessary. Concluding that no correction to the sentencing order is necessary, we affirm. * * *

Again, Indiana Trial Rule 41(B) clearly states that unless the trial court’s order specifies otherwise, a dismissal under Trial Rule 41(B) “operates as an adjudication upon the merits.” In this case, the trial court’s order does not specify otherwise. As Court of Appeals of Indiana | Opinion 49A02-1603-CR-566 | November 2, 2016 Page 7 of 7 such, we conclude that there is no need to remand the case to correct the sentencing order.

NFP civil decisions today (1):

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of B.S. (Child) and K.S. (Mother); K.S. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

Ann Casildo v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 2, 2016 11:37 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions