Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dept. Of Insurance Whistleblower Suit Raising Eyebrows

Paul Ogden was once considered a good friend of Department of Insurance Commissioner James Atterholt. Both are Republicans and both ran for the Indiana House of Representatives in neighboring districts on the City of Indianapolis' northside. Now, Ogden has filed a lawsuit against his former boss alleging wrongful termination. Atterholt says Ogden resigned over differences in management, but Ogden says he was told to resign or be fired. The Star explains:

The suit accuses Mihalik of mismanagement. It also says Atterholt lightened punishments for licensees after legislators or other elected officials contacted him or if they were deemed "good Christians."

"It appears (Ogden) is merely attempting to sensationalize a series of workplace disagreements with his immediate supervisor that led to his resignation," a statement issued by Atterholt said. "The department is confident that no violations of law will be found."

The lighter punishment for persons deemed "good Christians" reminds me of the recent controversy in the Republican presidential race after Gov. Huckabee was criticized by his opponents for giving leniency to prisoners who claimed to have found Jesus, but who later committed heinous crimes after Huckabee released them early. Remember folks, government actors are supposed to check their personal religious beliefs at the door when carrying out their official acts in government.


Anonymous said...

And wasn't that the point of the ACLU House Prayer case as well? One denomination should not rule over all the others in the public forum.

Anonymous said...

What is your basis for such a wrong headed conclusion?

Anonymous said...

...another frivilous law suit.

I grant summary judgment immediately. He resigned.

Anonymous said...

Which wrong-headed conclusion are you referencing, 10:28? I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that the law is that when you're told to resign or be fired, that's actually a firing?
The law doesn't allow you to get out of the consequences of wronfully terminating an employee by forcing the employee to resign or be fired. They would have been wise to look up the term "constructive discharge." Poor lawyering on someone's part.

Anonymous said...

11:27--take it from someone in the industry--there's plenty of smoke on top of this fire. Lots of big contributor Republicans asking lots of favors of legislators, when contributor title companies got into sloppy trouble.

You see, there are many double-dippers in that business. Attorneys who adivse clients and own their own title companies. The state's largest realty company owns a title company, and regularly steers business toward that title company in improper fee bundling arrangements. Consumers are getting bilked in some cases.

And, Atterholt is not a genius. There have been many errors made in the collection of title insurance fees that go to the state--like money spent on remodeled offices instead of personnel to investigate bad title insurance deals.

This guy is no joke. He was forced out. If he continues to sing, which is the big "if" in these situations, big heads will roll.

If hs stops singing, you can assume he was paid off. He's a good lawyer, and no dumb bunny.

Tom Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Someone on the Stars blog is saying they hold prayer meetings at lunchtime on Fridays at the Department of Insurance.

Anonymous said...

1:07 I don't know what state you are in, but there is no such law as you allege in Indiana.

As for "constructive discharge" you have no right to a job absent a contract. The man resigned.

Motion for Summary Judgment Affirmed.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing illegal with prayer meetings at lunchtime on state property. In fact it would probably be a violation of the Constitution (the Free Exercise of Religion Clause if you tried to prevent those meetings).

As far as to the no right to a job absent a contract comment, you need to go back to law school. It is true that Indiana is an at will employment state. However, in Indiana you cannot fire even an at-will employee for the exercise of a state or federal constitutional or statutory right. Indiana also prohibits an at will employyee from being fired for speaking out on a matter of public concern. Then you have a specific whistleblowing statute to boot. Game. Set. Match. Whistleblowing employee wins in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

FYi, a "resignation" where the employee is told he or she has to resign or be fired, is considered an involuntary termination under the law. Every employment attorney knows that. You don't escape liability as the employer in that situation because you have the employee's "resignation."