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Woman claiming defamation after charges dropped loses appeal

March 24, 2016

A woman who sued for defamation against her employer and a private investigator after she was acquitted of two counts of theft will not gain relief after the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment for the employer and investigator in her case.

Roukaya Ali was accused of stealing jewelry items from two clients she served while working for Alliance Health Care LLC. After a bench trial she was acquitted of two counts of Class D felony theft.

Because she lost her job and was denied unemployment, Ali filed a civil action against Alliance as well as L.J.L. Enterprises Inc. and Larry Logsdon, who investigated the crime. She claimed defamation, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, vicarious liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The defendants sought summary judgment from the trial court and it was granted. Ali appealed.

The COA said Ali was not specific enough in her defamation claims. She did not identify specific statements that were made that defamed her or specify whom the statements were from.

The court also said Alliance’s communications with law enforcement were protected by qualified privilege. Ali did not designate evidence that any communication or action implicated her race or status as an immigrant, or backing her claim Logsdon commanded police to arrest her. The communication between Alliance and its insurance agent were qualifiedly privileged as well as it was a good-faith attempt to discern whether the insurer would cover the client’s loss.

Alliance’s communications with the Indiana State Department of Health, which caused her to lose her certified nurse’s aide and certified home health aide statuses, were also protected by statute, as are its communications with the Department of Workforce Development.

The COA also ruled the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment on any of Ali’s other claims of false imprisonment, vicarious liability and intentional infliction and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The case is Roukaya Ali v. Alliance Home Health Care, LLC, L.J. L. Enterprises Inc. and Larry J. Logsdon, 49A02-15070CT-986.




 

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