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Suspension reinstated for insurer accused of hitting worker

April 25, 2018

A Plainfield insurance agent’s license suspension was reinstated by the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled Wednesday that evidence that he hit a state employee twice while attempting to renew his license was sufficient grounds to let the disciplinary action stand.

Insurance agent Donald L. Emry denied striking an Indiana Department of Insurance employee who claimed he became upset and punched her twice in the forearm on July 25, 2016, after he came to the office to renew his insurance producer's license. Emry’s license was suspended on an emergency basis the next day.

A final order issued in February 2017 suspended Emry for two years for bad conduct. Its findings note that video footage of the alleged incident “does not show the moment the strike occurred because the view is obscured; however, footage shows (Emry’s) arm move in motions that could be interpreted as hand strikes.”

But the IDOI credited the employee’s testimony and that of a co-worker who didn’t witness the physical contact but corroborated the alleged victim was fearful for her safety after her interaction with Emry.

Emry appealed his suspension to the Hendricks Superior Court, which overturned it and reinstated his license, finding the evidence insufficient for the agency’s suspension order.

But an appellate panel reversed the trial court Wednesday in a memorandum decision, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Insurance v. Donald L. Emry (mem. dec.), 32A05-1712-PL-2996.

“The facts most favorable to the agency’s decision are sufficient to sustain the decision,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the panel. “In requesting judicial review by the trial court, Emry effectively asked the trial court to reweigh the evidence, which neither we nor the trial court may do.

“Emry, therefore, has failed to prove that the agency’s action was invalid,” Bradford continue. “... The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the suspension of Emry’s license is reinstated.”

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