The former Enon police officer who alleged wrongful termination by the village in a court case dismissed by a Clark County judge has requested an appeal before the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Clark County Common Pleas Judge Douglas Rastatter rejected the case on jurisdictional grounds, and his decision was upheld by the county court of appeals.
“By refusing jurisdiction over this case, the Ohio Supreme Court will be sanctioning activity which runs afoul of language promulgated by the Ohio legislature,” Vikki Adams’ attorney Erica Ann Probst wrote.
Village attorneys oppose Adams’ request.
“A memorandum opposing Ms. Adams’ request to have the Ohio Supreme Court hear her case was sent to the court today,” Village Attorney Lynnette Dinkler told the Springfield News-Sun via email Thursday. “Regardless of whether the court accepts Ms. Adams appeal on what is a jurisdictional question, the village of Enon will continue to aggressively defend this matter.”
Adams’ initial suit alleged the village owed her damages in excess of $25,000 due to a retaliatory termination for filing workers’ compensation claims after a fall in the police department’s parking lot in early 2009, according to court documents.
She later amended her complaint to include disability and age discrimination, which were considered moot due to the dismissal.
The village asked to dismiss on the basis that Adams failed to comply with the state’s written notice requirements and because it was not in the court’s jurisdiction, and Rastatter agreed.
“Defendant’s failure to provide written notice deprives this court of jurisdiction,” Rastatter wrote in the May 2012 order.
Adams appealed Rastatter’s decision in June, 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 judge’s decision was upheld last month by the Court of Appeals of Clark County.
Presiding Appeals Judge P.J. Grady in his opinion wrote that Adams failed to file a written notice of violation to the village prior to her filing the lawsuit, as required by the Ohio Revised Code.
“Adams contends that nothing in (the ORC) indicates a legislative intent that the notice must be received by the employer prior to filing a complaint alleging the violation (in court),” Grady wrote. “We do not agree. (The ORC) expressly states that ‘no action may be instituted … unless the employer has received written notice of a claimed violation of this paragraph within the 90 days immediately following the (termination).”
The fall left Adams “severely injured including a broken rib, torn rotator cuffs and additional injuries to her shoulder, neck and elbow,” according to court documents.
Her appeal before the state court hasn’t yet been accepted. A spokesman with the Ohio Supreme Court said it generally takes two to four months for a decision on whether the court will hear the case after the appellee has filed a response.
“I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will accept review and eventually adopt the reasoning of the dissent set forth in the opinion issued by the Court of Appeals,” Probst told the News-Sun.