IN Supreme Court to hear immigration, breach of contract, eminent domain issues

Lake County cases involving immigration welcoming ordinances, a dentist’s breach of contract allegations and an eminent domain dispute will all come before the Indiana Supreme Court during oral arguments this week.

Justices will hear the arguments on Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m. with the pending transfer of City of Gary v. Jeff Nicholson, Douglas Grimes, Greg Serbon, and Cheree Calabro, and State of Indiana, 20A-MI-2317.

In 2017, Gary passed its “Welcoming City” ordinance to “ensure that the immigration status of those who live, work, or pass through the city will not affect how they are treated by Gary agencies and agents, including its police department and social services providers.”

Jeff Nicholson, Douglas Grimes, Greg Serbon and Cheree Calabro sued the city, alleging that four provisions of the ordinance violated Indiana Code §§ 5-2-18.2-3 and -4.

The Lake Superior Court granted summary judgment for Nicholson, prohibiting Gary from enforcing parts of its ordinance. But a split Court of Appeals of Indiana found that only two limited portions of Gary’s ordinance violate state statutes, and it affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded with instructions.

At 10 a.m., the high court will hear arguments in a case it has already granted transfer to – Family Dental Care, P.C. v. Christine Mousa 22S-PL-00141.

There, Dr. Christine Mousa sued her former employer, Family Dental, after being fired from her job just weeks after starting because she refused to lower her compensation. The Lake Superior Court awarded Mousa $94,466 in unpaid wages, prejudgment interest and liquidated damages.

But a majority of the Court of Appeals reversed the liquidated damages award, holding that Mousa failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under the Wage Claims Act when she did not first file a claim with the Department of Labor. The divided appellate panel then remanded for the trial court to reduce the damages award.

Wrapping things up, the Supreme Court will close by hearing arguments in an eminent domain dispute in 624 Broadway LLC v. Gary Housing Authority, 22S-CT-140, at 11 a.m.

When the Gary Housing Authority took land with an appraised value of $325,000 for $75,000 through an administrative eminent-domain procedure, the land’s owner sued for injunctive relief and damages.

The Lake Superior Court granted summary judgment to the housing authority and the COA affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded with instructions to vacate the housing authority’s taking and valuation of the land and to hold any further proceedings consistent with its opinion.

Arguments will be held in person at the Indiana Supreme Court in Indianapolis and will be lived streamed outside of the courtroom and online. 

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