Nobles v. Cartwright

Decision Date21 December 1995
Docket NumberNo. 49A02-9406-CV-331,49A02-9406-CV-331
Citation659 N.E.2d 1064
PartiesAnne NOBLES, D. William Moreau, Jr., David F. Hamilton, and the State Lottery Commission of Indiana, Appellants-Defendants, v. Mary L. CARTWRIGHT, Appellee-Plaintiff.
CourtIndiana Appellate Court
OPINION

SULLIVAN, Judge.

Anne Nobles, D. William Moreau, Jr., David F. Hamilton, and the State Lottery Commission of Indiana (collectively referred to as Appellants) appeal the trial court's denial of full summary judgment in an action filed by Mary Cartwright (Cartwright) alleging wrongful discharge, invasion of privacy and breach of contract. The litigation evolved from the handling of Cartwright's charges of sexual harassment against former Lottery Director Jack Crawford (Crawford). Each of the individual Appellants worked for the State of Indiana in the office of Indiana Governor Evan Bayh. 1

Appellants present the following issues, which we restate as:

(1) whether the trial court erred in denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment upon Cartwright's wrongful discharge claim;

(2) whether the trial court erred in denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment upon the public disclosure of private facts portion of Cartwright's invasion of privacy claim;

(3) whether the trial court erred in denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment upon Cartwright's breach of contract claim.

We reverse.

A review of the facts with respect to the trial court's summary judgment disposition reveals that Cartwright began working for Crawford as an executive secretary in 1976 when Crawford was a Hammond City Court judge. In 1978, after his term as a judge expired, Crawford was elected Lake County prosecutor and Cartwright continued to work for him as an executive secretary. In September of 1980, Crawford and Cartwright began a sexual relationship. 2 In June of 1989, Governor Bayh appointed Crawford as the director of the Lottery Commission. Crawford offered Cartwright a position as the director of human resources with the Commission. Cartwright accepted the position on the condition that the sexual relationship would not continue. Nevertheless, Crawford and Cartwright resumed their affair.

On December 3, 1989, Cartwright arranged a meeting with Anne Nobles (Nobles) at Nobles' home to complain about Crawford's conduct. At that meeting, Cartwright explained the affair with Crawford and his sexual demands. Cartwright showed Nobles several documents, including an agreement written by Crawford by which he agreed not to intimidate or harass Cartwright any longer, 3 a purported will that Crawford drafted leaving Cartwright one-half of his property, 4 and assorted love letters Crawford wrote to her. After the meeting, Nobles contacted D. William Moreau (Moreau), Governor Bayh's chief of staff, and discussed Cartwright's allegations. Moreau, Nobles, and Cartwright met later that evening at Nobles' home, at which time Cartwright repeated the substance of her allegations. Cartwright expressed concern for her safety and her daughter's safety at both meetings, but did not claim that she had been threatened by anyone. Cartwright asked that her name not be made public and that the matter be handled as discreetly as possible.

Cartwright again met with Nobles and Moreau in Moreau's office on December 5, discussing Cartwright's allegations in further detail. Cartwright showed Moreau the documents she earlier had shown Nobles. Nobles' independent investigation did not corroborate nor did it refute Cartwright's allegations. On December 8, Moreau decided to bring the matter to Governor Bayh's attention. Governor Bayh agreed that Cartwright should stay away from the office until the matter could be resolved. The Governor was aware that Cartwright had expressed concern for her safety and the safety of her daughter, and agreed to offer Cartwright state police protection.

On December 9, Nobles and an officer from the Indiana State Police went to Cartwright's apartment to convince her to go with them for a meeting, but Cartwright refused. Instead, Cartwright agreed to meet with Nobles later in the afternoon. Cartwright then went to the Indianapolis law office of Frederick R. Hovde (Hovde), whom she retained as her attorney. 5 Later that day, Hovde met with Nobles, Moreau, Hamilton, and Wayne Adams (Adams), a local attorney whom the Governor's office sought as additional counsel. At that meeting, Hovde repeated Cartwright's concern for her safety and expressed his belief that Cartwright would very much appreciate state police protection. Hovde turned over to Appellants photocopies of the documents Cartwright had earlier shown to Nobles and to Moreau on the express condition that they not be further copied or distributed and that they be submitted to the state police for a handwriting analysis.

After leaving Hovde's office, Moreau, Nobles, Hamilton, and Adams met with Governor Bayh and showed him the documents. Handwriting experts from the state police expressed the opinion that the handwriting on the documents was Crawford's. Appellants wanted Cartwright to give a sworn statement detailing her relationship with Crawford. Cartwright prepared such a statement, which included intimate details of the sexual relationship. Hovde gave the statement to Appellants on December 10. Appellants agreed that the statement would be kept confidential.

Moreau and Hamilton met with Crawford in the Governor's office on the evening of December 10. Crawford acknowledged the sexual relationship, reviewed Cartwright's sworn statement and then resigned. The next day, December 11, the Governor's office announced Crawford's resignation. Governor Bayh also announced that John Weliever would serve as the interim Lottery Director and that Nobles would be the Lottery's Deputy Director and General Counsel. Cartwright retained her job at the Lottery; Nobles was her immediate supervisor.

Crawford's resignation and speculation about what prompted it attracted immediate and widespread media attention. As early as Tuesday, December 12, various media sources began reporting that Cartwright and Crawford had an affair and that she and members of the Governor's staff had been afforded police protection. 6 The Governor's office initially refused to divulge specific details surrounding Crawford's resignation, except to say that Crawford had resigned for personal reasons. Despite mounting media and political pressure to release more information on the following day, December 13, Governor Bayh and his staff still publicly refused to confirm that Cartwright was involved in the allegations. 7 Privately, however, Adams informed Hovde that the Governor's office intended to issue a statement explaining that Cartwright's sexual harassment charges led to Crawford's resignation. Hovde opposed the release of any such statement, but he believed that the statement would be released whether he approved or not. He believed that his only options were to let the statement be issued "as is" or to take part in editing it. Record at 1084-85. He chose to help edit. Cartwright was told of the statement and was given an opportunity to read it and to suggest changes. Governor Bayh's office released the statement on December 14. The press release acknowledged only that Cartwright had made the harassment allegations and that Crawford had resigned because of the complaints. The release did not contain any details of Cartwright's allegations. That evening, Crawford tearfully told one reporter that his relationship with Cartwright was a "love affair that went very bad." Record at 1096.

Public criticism of the Bayh administration continued to increase as media polls revealed that a majority of the people responding believed that Cartwright should have been fired. On January 4, 1990, Nobles suggested to Cartwright that she might want to tell her side of the story to the press. On the afternoon of January 6, 1990, Cartwright granted an interview to Nancy Winkley (Winkley), a reporter for the Gary Post-Tribune. During that interview, Cartwright told Winkley that a state police trooper had broken into her apartment on December 9 apparently looking for the documents Cartwright had shown to Nobles and Moreau. She also denied that she feared Crawford or that she ever requested state police protection. Winkley reported that Cartwright said the statement released by the Governor's office never had her final approval. The interview became the basis for a front-page story in the Sunday, January 7, 1990, edition of the Post-Tribune.

Cartwright then granted an interview to The Indianapolis Star. The Star 's January 8 story again reported Cartwright's assertion that a state police officer broke into her apartment. She also told a reporter for The Indianapolis News that she refused a ride with Nobles and an Indiana State Police trooper on December 9, saying: " 'There's no way I'm going to get in a police car and go anywhere. I'm not going to find myself in a cornfield.' " Record at 1142. Cartwright also gave a radio interview, during which she steadfastly maintained that she did not request state police protection. Finally, Cartwright publicly responded to questions about a purported "contract" she and Crawford had signed on July 15. The contract was one of the documents upon which she relied to support her harassment allegations, yet she told the press that she did not take the contract seriously.

On January 10, Lottery officials terminated Cartwright's employment. The termination letter, signed by Nobles, stated in part as follows:

"Upon the instructions of Lottery Director John Weliever, I am writing to inform you that your employment with the Hoosier Lottery is terminated effective immediately.

After you came to me with allegations that you had been harassed sexually by ...

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29 cases
  • Doe v. Methodist Hosp.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • December 31, 1997
    ...public disclosure tort was extensively analyzed, particularly as to its "legitimate public interest element," in Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064, 1074-77 (Ind.Ct.App.1995), which unequivocally declared, "Indiana recognizes the tort of public disclosure of private facts." Id. at The to......
  • Tun ex rel. Tun v. Fort Wayne Community Schools
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana
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    ...establish any of the necessary elements to support a claim that there was a public disclosure of private facts, Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064, 1074-77 (Ind.Ct.App.1995), even if it could be assumed, a doubtful proposition at best, that such a claim exists under Indiana law, see Doe ......
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    ...interrogatory responses. We will not scour the record in search of evidence in support Legacy's claims. See Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064, 1070 (Ind.Ct.App.1995) (appellate courts are not required to search the record in an effort to discern whether genuine issues of material fact e......
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    ...v. Hair , 555 N.E.2d 1324, 1334–35 (Ind. Ct. App. 1990) ; Cullison v. Medley , 570 N.E.2d 27, 31 (Ind. 1991) ; Nobles v. Cartwright , 659 N.E.2d 1064, 1073–74 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).That changed, however, in 1997 with Doe v. Methodist Hospital , 690 N.E.2d 681 (Ind. 1997) (plurality opinion).......
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6 books & journal articles
  • Privacy Issues in the Workplace
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Employment Law. Volume 2 - 2017 Part VI. Workplace Torts
    • August 19, 2017
    ...in adulterous relationship with subordinate female employee), aff’d without op ., 22 F.3d 1104 (Fed. Cir. 1994); Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064 (Ind. App. 1995) (details of extramarital affair that public employee had with her supervisor were matters of legitimate public concern and ......
  • Privacy issues in the workplace
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Texas Employment Law. Volume 1 Part VI. Workplace torts
    • May 5, 2018
    ...in adulterous relationship with subordinate female employee), aff’d without op ., 22 F.3d 1104 (Fed. Cir. 1994); Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064 (Ind. App. 1995) (details of extramarital affair that public employee had with her supervisor were matters of legitimate public concern and ......
  • Privacy Issues in the Workplace
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Employment Law. Volume 2 - 2014 Part VI. Workplace torts
    • August 16, 2014
    ...in adulterous relationship with subordinate female employee), aff’d without op ., 22 F.3d 1104 (Fed. Cir. 1994); Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064 (Ind. App. 1995) (details of extramarital affair that public employee had with her supervisor were matters of legitimate public concern and ......
  • Privacy Issues in the Workplace
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Employment Law. Volume 2 - 2016 Part VI. Workplace Torts
    • July 27, 2016
    ...in adulterous relationship with subordinate female employee), aff’d without op ., 22 F.3d 1104 (Fed. Cir. 1994); Nobles v. Cartwright, 659 N.E.2d 1064 (Ind. App. 1995) (details of extramarital affair that public employee had with her supervisor were matters of legitimate public concern and ......
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