Testing 123 Link


Testing 123 Link


St. Joseph County Superior Court, Courthouse 1, 101 South Main Street, South Bend, Indiana 46601


Elementary school teacher Connie Grabowski resigned from the South Bend Community School Corporation after the school investigated a complaint that she had bullied a student. As a result of the School Corporation’s investigation, Grabowski was presented with a “last chance agreement.” Grabowski refused to sign the agreement and believed that her refusal would lead to termination from employment; therefore, she decided to resign.

The incident that led to the investigation occurred when a student bumped into Grabowski causing Grabowski to crash into a wall. After the incident, Grabowski felt pain in her wrist, ankle, and thigh. Per school corporation policy, Grabowski submitted a worker’s compensation accident report form. On both the form and the student’s behavior log, Grabowski stated that the student “forcefully” ran into her. After reviewing a video of the incident, school corporation personnel concluded that the student accidentally ran into Grabowski.

A few days before the incident described above, the student had accused Grabowski of making inappropriate statements to him. For this reason, the student’s mother and grandmother, the latter a member and former head of the school corporation’s board of trustees, believed that Grabowski had made the report to retaliate against the student and insisted on an investigation.

After she resigned from her employment, Grabowski filed a complaint against the School Corporation alleging wrongful termination in retaliation for expressing an intent to file a worker’s compensation claim, wrongful termination in retaliation for requesting to review the videotape of the incident where Grabowski crashed into the wall, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court dismissed the defamation and emotional distress claims and granted summary judgment on her claim of wrongful termination in retaliation for requesting to view the videotape. Therefore, the court held a jury trial on Grabowski’s only remaining claim, i.e. wrongful termination in retaliation for expressing an intent to file a worker’s compensation claim.

The trial spanned three days, and on the last day, the jury heard evidence until approximately 10:00 p.m. and deliberated until almost 1:30 a.m. The jury found in Grabowski’s favor and awarded her $600,000 in damages.

The School Corporation raises two issues on appeal: 1) whether the trial court erred when it denied the School Corporation’s Trial Rule 50(A) motions for judgment on the evidence arguing that Grabowski did not present evidence to support the elements of her wrongful termination claim, and 2) whether the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the School Corporation’s motion for mistrial because of the length of the proceedings on the last day of trial.


Panel judges will be Judge Paul D. Mathias, Judge Terry A. Crone, and Judge Elizabeth F. Tavitas.

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