Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Brian J. Darling Darling Duffy Co.,
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael DeWine Ohio Attorney General
Jeffrey Knight Marissa J. Palumbo Assistant Attorneys General
Michael T. Fisher.
BEFORE: Blackmon, J., E.A. Gallagher, P.J., and Stewart, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, JUDGE.
Plaintiff, Emily Danckaert ("Danckaert"), appeals
from the order of the trial court awarding summary judgment
to defendants Cuyahoga Community College Foundation
("Tri-C") and Dental Hygiene Program Manager Mary
Lou Gerosky ("Gerosky) (collectively referred to as
"Defendants"), in Danckaert's action for breach
of contract and other causes of action. Danckaert assigns the
following three errors for our review:
I. The trial court erred in granting Tri-C and Gerosky's
motion for dismissal/summary judgment since Tri-C breached
its promise to pass Danckaert under the modified contractual
II. The trial court erred in granting Tri-C and Gerosky's
motion for dismissal/summary judgment since promissory
estoppel prevents Tri-C and Gerosky from dismissing Danckaert
from the Dental Hygiene Program.
III. The trial court erred in granting Tri-C and
Gerosky's motion for dismissal/summary judgment since
Tri-C's decision to dismiss Danckaert from the Dental
Hygiene Program was arbitrary and capricious and violated her
due process rights.
Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we reverse and
remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
The apposite facts follow.
Danckaert worked as a dental assistant in Ohio since 2009. In
2012, she entered Tri-C's Dental Hygiene Program in order
to be authorized to perform additional professional duties.
During the spring semester of her first year in the program,
Danckaert received deficient marks in one of her clinical
courses, Preventative Oral Health Services II ("POHS
II") or "DENT 1400." Danckaert explained that
her instructor did not timely sign off on a portion of her
work, so she requested permission to receive an
"Incomplete" in the class. At this time, Danckaert
was advised in writing that she would be placed on academic
probation. She was further advised that no student is
permitted to earn two or more "Incompletes" in a
class series, under the following provision in the program
Two consecutive incomplete grades in the clinical component
of the POHS [Preventative Oral Health Services] I, II, III,
or IV may lead to academic dismissal. Situational
circumstances will be addressed on a case by case basis and a
decision will be made by a consensus of the dental hygiene
Danckaert finished the work after the term ended. She
received a B in the class, and the Incomplete was removed.
The following year, Danckaert began Preventative Oral Health
Services III ("POHS III"). The syllabus for this
course requires the students to have an end of the term
average of at least 86% in the Professional Development
component of this course. Danckaert struggled in POHS III.
She sought counseling from the course instructor Jane
Durocher-Jones ("Durocher-Jones") and preceptor
Irina Novopoltseva ("Novopoltseva"). Clinical
Coordinator Cynthia Quint ("Quint") met with
Danckaert to discuss how Danckaert could bring up the grade
and pass the course. Quint also conferred with instructor
Jones, and they agreed that Danckaert was entitled to 60%
rather than the 0 she had been given in one of the
Professional Development clinical sessions. With the benefit
of this change, Quint and Jones calculated that if Danckaert
received 100% in seven of the remaining 11 sessions, she
could pass the Professional Development component of POS III
and pass the course. They emailed program manager Gerosky,
advising her of their calculations and asking Gerosky to
inform Danckaert of their computations.
It is undisputed that Danckaert subsequently received scores
of 100% on nine of the remaining Professional Development
sessions, but her final grade was 83.6%. She also received
passing grades in other ...