A former Enon police officer whose dismissed 2011 lawsuit alleged the village terminated her employment in retaliation for a worker’s compensation claim she made has an appeal pending and a decision is expected in the next several months.
Vikki Adams’ suit, filed late last year in Clark County Common Pleas Court, charged that the village owed her damages in excess of $25,000 due to the termination as well as disability and age discrimination after a fall in the police department’s parking lot in January 2009.
The village’s motion to dismiss on the basis that Adams failed to comply with the state’s written notice requirements was sustained by Common Pleas Judge Douglas Rastatter. “Defendant’s failure to provide written notice deprives this court of jurisdiction,” Rastatter wrote in the May 2012 order.
Adams appealed that court’s decision in June, however, saying the village “received notice of the claims (it) had against it for worker’s compensation retaliation within 90 days of her termination and a complaint was filed within 180 days of her termination.”
The portion of the Ohio Revised Code in question reads: “The action shall be forever barred unless filed within 180 days immediately following the discharge, demotion, reassignment or punitive action taken, and no action may be instituted or maintained unless the employer had received written notice of a claimed violation of this paragraph within the 90 days immediately following the discharge, demotion, reassignment or punitive action taken.”
Her appeal claims the village received written notice 33 days following her termination and it alleges no such language exists in the ORC that requires an “intent to sue” letter be sent within 90 days prior to the filing of a formal court complaint.
“The village of Enon’s motion to dismiss was nothing more than attempt to have a statute that is clear on its face re-written to accomplish the needs of the municipality,” the appeal says.
The village contends the letter is required.
“The village will aggressively defend the litigation,” Lynette Dinkler, the village’s attorney on the appeal said. She declined further comment Friday.
The fall left Adams “severely injured including a broken rib, torn rotator cuffs and additional injuries to her shoulder, neck and elbow” that resulted in surgery and the termination of her employment in “retaliation” for filing a compensation claim.
The suit also alleged Adams sustained financial and emotional damages due to a discrimination against her disabled status and a wrongful termination of her employment due to her age.
Mayor Tim Howard read a simple update on the appeal’s proceedings before village council in December, saying that it was argued before the Court of Appeals and indicated a decision is expected in the next few months.
“I hope we’re successful,” Adams’ attorney Erica Probst said Friday. She declined further comment.