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Moore v. Impact Community Action

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

July 23, 2013

Alisha Moore, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Impact Community Action, Defendant-Appellee.

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, C.P.C. No. 10CV08-11771

Duncan Simonette, Inc., and Brian K. Duncan, for appellant.

Ice Miller, LLP, Paul L. Bittner and Angela M. Courtwright, for appellee.

DECISION

KLATT, P.J.

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Alisha Moore, appeals from judgments of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Impact Community Action ("IMPACT"), on her claims arising from the termination of her employment with IMPACT. For the following reasons, we affirm those judgments.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

{¶ 2} IMPACT is a community action agency devoted to reducing poverty and helping low-income families. As part of that goal, IMPACT offers various programs, including a Home Weatherization Assistance Program. In March 2009, appellant began working at IMPACT as a customer service representative in the home weatherization program. Appellant's employment with IMPACT was at all times as an at-will employee. Her work day began at 7:00 a.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m. During the first few months of her employment, appellant arrived at work late a number of times. This conduct led her supervisor to place appellant on an Attendance Improvement Plan in September 2009. The plan informed her that she could be fired if she had two more chargeable instances related to attendance in the next three months. Unfortunately for appellant, she was late to work a number of times in those three months and, as a result, was let go from her position with IMPACT in December 2009.

{¶ 3} After her firing, appellant filed a complaint in the trial court which alleged a number of claims against IMPACT. Specifically, she alleged that IMPACT wrongfully terminated her employment in violation of its handbook and policies and intentionally or negligently caused her emotional distress. An amended complaint subsequently added a claim for promissory estoppel. IMPACT requested summary judgment in its favor on all of appellant's claims, arguing that her claims failed either as a matter of law or because there were no issues of material fact. Appellant disagreed, arguing that genuine issues of material fact in each of her claims precluded summary judgment. The trial court agreed with IMPACT and eventually awarded it summary judgment on all of appellant's claims.

II. The Appeal

{¶ 4} Appellant appeals and assigns the following errors:

1. The trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment with respect to the wrongful termination claim because plaintiff has demonstrated actions by defendant that are against the employee handbook and general public policy.
2. The trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment with respect to the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim because there were genuine issues of material fact relating to the outrageous behavior by defendant, including but not limited to whether plaintiff was being subjected to a hostile work environment through inappropriate remarks and unequal disciplinary actions.
3. The trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment with respect to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim because plaintiff has sufficiently pled allegations which raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant's outrageous actions have caused plaintiff severe mental distress, and the alleged conduct goes beyond all bounds of decency.
4. The trial court erred in granting defendant's supplemental motion for summary judgment with respect to the promissory estoppel claim because defendant made a clear and unambiguous promise to plaintiff, ...

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