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SCOTUS denies 4 Indiana cases, issues order in pending appeal

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The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear four cases from Indiana, and it has asked the federal government to weigh in on a pending appeal about alleged workplace harassment involving Ball State University.

In Maetta Vance v. Ball State University, et al, 11-556, which arises out of the Southern District of Indiana, the justices issued a CVSG, which stands for a Call for the Views of the Solicitor General and is something the court does when it’s considering whether to grant a certiorari petition and wants to know what the federal government’s views might be on the issue.

In this case, the issue raised is: Whether the “supervisor” liability rule established in two 1998 court rulings applies to harassment of those whom the employer vests with authority to direct and oversee their victim’s daily work. On the flip side, the case asks whether the precedent is limited to those harassers who have the power to “hire, fire, demote, transfer or discipline" their victim.

The 7th Circuit in June 2011 ruled against Maetta Vance, who worked at Ball State and claimed her co-workers’ racially charged statements and unfavorable treatment from her superiors created a hostile work environment. The appellate panel upheld a summary judgment ruling against the woman from U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the Southern District of Indiana.

The justices also denied certiorari requests for the workplace discrimination case Tonya M. Buamann v. The Finish Line, 11-297; and probate case Lori Rappaport LaCroix v. the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, 11-3239. The justices also denied two state court cases: Kristin S. Hill v. Michael W. Hill, 11-7868, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals in November 2010 affirmed a Marion Superior probate ruling that named the father as guardian over the divorced couple’s son; and Randy Edward Johnson v. Indiana, 11-7938, in which the Indiana Supreme Court held in June 2011 that a Monroe Circuit judge’s failure to investigate a complaint about inadequate public defender service didn’t violate the Sixth Amendment.

 

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