The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case filed by a fired professor at the University of Evansville against the school.
The justices accepted transfer to John Haegert v. University of Evansville, No. 82S01-1204-PL-235, in which John Haegert sued the university for breach of his tenure contract. Haegert was a tenured English professor who was fired after an inappropriate interaction with co-worker Margaret McMullan while she was interviewing a prospective student. The university fired him because it believed he violated the school’s no-tolerance sexual harassment policy.
Haegert also sued McMullan for defamation, tortuous breach of contract, and infliction of emotional distress. The trial court had granted summary judgment for McMullan and the university in two separate cases, but the Court of Appeals reversed with regards to the lawsuit involving the university. The majority determined that the University of Evansville didn’t satisfy the burden of proof that Haegert had committed sexual harassment in the form of a hostile work environment before firing him.
The justices also granted transfer to Elmer J. Bailey v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1204-CR-234, a not-for-publication decision by the Court of Appeals that reversed Elmer Bailey’s conviction of Class D felony domestic battery for poking his wife in the forehead with his finger and shoving her as he entered their home. The judges ordered that the conviction be entered as Class B misdemeanor battery and that Bailey be resentenced accordingly.
The justices denied transfer to 11 other cases.