United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on (1) Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment [DE 25], filed by Defendants Diocese of
Gary, Andrean High School, Harry J. Vande Velde, III, and Dr.
Barbara O'Block on August 1, 2016, and (2) a Motion for
Summary Judgment [DE 27], filed by Counterclaim Defendant
Mary Beth Ginalski on August 1, 2016.
Mary Beth Ginalski was the principal at Andrean High School,
a Catholic high school, for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014
school years with a one-year contract each year. During the
2013-2014 school year, the Diocese of Gary adopted a
principal-president model of governance at Andrean High
School and, in late September 2013, hired Defendant Harry J.
Vande Velde, III in the position of president. In March 2014,
Ginalski was notified that her contract would not be renewed
for the 2014-2015 school year. She was told that she would
not finish the school year as principal and was asked to
vacate her office; however, she was paid through the end of
her 2013-2014 contract.
brings federal claims of employment discrimination based on
sex, age, and disability as well as various state law claims.
The Court finds that, as a matter of law, Ginalski's
position as principal at Andrean High School falls within the
First Amendment's ministerial exception. Thus, her
federal employment discrimination claims fail, and the Court
grants summary judgment in favor of Defendants on those
claims. The Court grants summary judgment in favor of
Defendants on the claims of negligent infliction of emotional
distress and defamation, which Ginalski abandons, and the
Court relinquishes its jurisdiction over the remaining state
law claims of negligent hiring and intentional infliction of
emotional distress, dismissing them without prejudice. The
Court also grants summary judgment in favor of Ginalski on
the Counterclaim because the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary,
Indiana and Andrean High School abandon the two claims
March 12, 2015, Plaintiff Mary Beth Ginalski filed a
Complaint in this Court, bringing claims of age and sex
discrimination against all Defendants (Count I); retaliation
against all Defendants (Count II); disability discrimination
against all Defendants (Count III); negligent hiring against
Defendants Diocese of Gary, Andrean High School, and Dr.
Barbara O'Block (Count IV); negligent infliction of
emotional distress against all Defendants (Count V);
defamation against Defendants Diocese of Gary, Andrean High
School, and Vande Velde (Count VI); and intentional
infliction of emotional distress against all Defendants
21, 2015, Defendants filed an Answer. Also on May 21, 2015,
the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary, Indiana and Andrean High
School filed a Counterclaim, alleging claims of defamation
(Count I) and unjust enrichment (Count II). Ginalski did not
file an Answer to the Counterclaim.
August 1, 2016, Defendants filed their Motion for Summary
Judgment on all the claims in Ginalski's Complaint.
Ginalski filed a response on August 29, 2016, and Defendants
filed a reply on September 9, 2016.
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the Counterclaim on
August 1, 2016. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary, Indiana
and Andrean High School filed a response on August 25, 2016,
agreeing to the dismissal of the Counterclaim.
parties filed forms of consent to have this case assigned to
a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further
proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in
this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide
this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
Mary Beth Ginalski was educated in the Catholic school
system. She graduated from Calumet College of St. Joseph in
1980 with a communication degree and received a second degree
in education in 1982 from the same institution. She earned an
Indiana teaching license in 1982 and an Indiana elementary
administrator's license in 1995. Ginalski served as a
public elementary school principal for seventeen years.
High School is a Catholic high school in the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Gary, Indiana. Barbara O'Block was the
Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Gary at all
July 2012, Ginalski was hired as the principal of Andrean
High School for the 2012-2013 school year. In late spring
2013, Ginalski was offered, and accepted, the position of
principal of Andrean High School for the 2013-2014 school
early 2013, the Diocese of Gary began considering the
adoption of the president/principal model of governance for
its high schools, and, ultimately, the decision was made to
adopt the president/principal model for Andrean High School
with the approval of the Bishop. In September 2013, Defendant
Harry J. Vande Velde, III was appointed president at Andrean
High School and began work.
March 3, 2014, O'Block informed Ginalski that her
contract would not be renewed for the following year.
Ginalski's employment was not terminated effective
immediately; she was paid through the end of her school year
contract. Although Ginalski expressed a desire to remain in
the position of principal through the end of the school year,
Vande Velde informed her that her last day of work was that
same day (March 3, 2014) and asked her to leave the premises.
signed a written one-year contract for each of the 2012-2013
and 2013-2014 school years. The contract for the 2013-2014
school year is titled: “Diocese of Gary Catholic
Schools Principal Employment Agreement”
(“Principal Employment Agreement”). (Defs. Br.,
A of the 2013-2014 Principal Employment Agreement is titled
“Ministerial Duties/Morals Clauses” and provides:
1. To be Principal in a Catholic school is to accept a
ministry. The ministry of the Principal must clearly reflect
the Catholic Christian spirit of love, understanding[, ] and
humility. This ministry is witnessed not only in the manner
in which the Principal performs his/her tasks, but also in
the example the Principal sets for the teachers and students
both in and outside ...