COA upholds restraining order against man who threatened mother’s caretakers

A Clark County man’s behavior qualified as a credible threat of violence with respect to three employees of the assisted living facility where his mother lived, so the trial court correctly issued workplace violence restraining orders on their behalf, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.

Brian Fuchs is co-attorney in fact for his mother, who lived at Riverbend Assisted Living in Jeffersonville. During her stay, he had called Alexa Wheeler, the executive director of the facility, and screamed about his mother not receiving a shower or a pill, or that she was missing a box of Q-tips. Fuchs also got in Wheeler’s face when she asked him not to talk to other residents or family members, and he screamed an obscenity in her face and walked away.

Fuchs got upset with Carrie Smith, a qualified medication assistant, when she told Fuchs’ mother that there would be a charge for a food tray in her room. Smith walked out of the room because she was scared. He also got irate with Angela Rice, the business office director, over an automatic deduction used to pay his mother’s bill. He backed her into a corner and she reported feeling like she was in danger.

Riverbend tried to have Fuchs’ mother transferred, but an ALJ denied their request. The judge did suggest workplace violence restraining orders on behalf of the three women, which the trial court granted. By this time, Fuchs’ mother no longer lived at Riverbend. Fuchs is now prevented from entering the facility.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the protective orders, finding that the employees suffered a credible threat of violence from Fuchs under I.C. 34-26-6-6.

“Although Fuchs may have been protesting the care his mother was receiving, his behavior went far beyond advocating for his mother. Repeatedly screaming, threatening, cursing, getting in employees’ faces, and backing employees into corners does not serve a legitimate purpose. Further, Rice and Smith testified that they were scared of Fuchs, and Wheeler testified that she was afraid Fuchs was going to initiate a physical altercation with her. Given Fuchs’s repeated conduct, a reasonable person would fear for his or her safety,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

The COA declined to address Fuchs’ argument that the restraining orders violated 410 Indiana Administrative Code Section 16.2-5-1.2(cc) because visiting his mother as her legal representative is protected by the administrative code. Because his mother no longer lives at the facility, the argument is moot, the judges held in Brian Fuchs v. Riverbend Assisted Living, 10A01-1602-PO-501.

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