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State court rejects DePauw employee’s appeal

 


State court rejects DePauw employee’s appeal

April 6, 2005

By United Methodist News Service

In a unanimous ruling, the Indiana State Supreme Court has rejected a request by DePauw University employee Janis Price to have her case heard. 

“Repeatedly, courts have ruled unequivocally in DePauw University’s favor and that Mrs. Price’s lawsuit leveled charges that were baseless,” said Ken Owen, director of media relations for the university in Greencastle, Ind. “Indiana’s highest court has effectively put her meritless claims to rest for good, which we applaud.”
 
Price told United Methodist News Service she is “disappointed” that the court refused to “even look at the case.” The latest ruling ends her legal battle, she said.

“My confidence in the legal system has been greatly diminished but my faith in Jesus Christ is still very strong,” she said. “It is clear to me that justice and legality are two different things.”

Earlier this year, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of DePauw University and overturned a jury’s verdict in favor of Price, a DePauw employee who has worked in the education department for more than 15 years. Price then filed an appeal.

In a trial in October 2003, a jury awarded Price $10,401 in damages. At that time, the jury ruled DePauw did not properly follow policies in its faculty handbook when reducing her duties.

In her lawsuit, Price claimed DePauw had cut her teaching duties because of her religious views. She said she was reassigned and incurred a $10,000 pay cut because she had distributed anti-homosexual magazines in her classroom.

DePauw argued that its decision to change Price’s duties was the result of both declining enrollments in the teacher education program and regular and special reviews of her performance.

Price and her attorney, John Price (no relation), asked the State Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals’ ruling. 

In discussing the latest round, Price said she was still gratified that a jury trial in 2003 ruled in her favor. “I am pleased a jury of my peers ruled unanimously in my favor,” she said. “I have been supported by many people in the Christian community.” 

“From the very inception of the case, DePauw believed Mrs. Price’s many claims were unfounded, and the courts have repeatedly agreed,” said DePauw’s counsel, John Neighbours.

“This seems a good time to say again—emphatically—that DePauw, which was founded by the United Methodist Church, is and has been open to and tolerant of people of all backgrounds and faiths,” Owen stated. “The rich traditions of this institution cannot be changed by the mischaracterizations of one person. As the DePauw family, we’re proud of who we are and thrilled this matter is finally behind us.”

DePauw University is one of 124 institutions of higher education related to the United Methodist Church.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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