United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE.
Brian Tidd, is a former employee of the Jackson County
Probation Department. In his Second Amended Complaint, he
alleges that Judges Bruce Markell, Bruce McTavish, and
Richard Poynter, and Chief Probation Officer Norman Phillips
(collectively “Defendants”), terminated his
employment on the basis of his age, in violation of the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Plaintiff's claims are against the Defendants in both
their personal (Count I) and official capacities (Count II).
Chief Phillips and the Judges separately move for summary
judgment on both counts. For the reasons stated herein,
Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment are GRANTED.
The Probation Department
40th Judicial Circuit is comprised of the Jackson Circuit
Court (Judge Poynter), Superior Court 1 (Judge Markel), and
Superior Court 2 (Judge MacTavish). (Filing No. 61-1,
Declaration of Norman Phillips (“Phillips Decl.”)
¶ 1). Pursuant to statute, probation officers, including
the chief probation officer, are appointed jointly by the
judges of all three courts. Ind. Code § 11-13-1-1(a),
(d). Chief Phillips, who was 67 years at the time of
Plaintiff's termination, has been the Chief Probation
Officer since 2001. (Phillips Decl. ¶ 1).
Phillips and four other probation officers work in Brownstown
where the Jackson Circuit Court and Superior Court 2 are
located. (Id. ¶ 3). The Brownstown office
handles adult felony and juvenile cases. (Id.).
Superior Court 1, located in Seymour, handles adult
misdemeanor cases. (Id.). During the relevant time
period, one or two probation officers were assigned to the
Seymour office. (Id.).
Chief Phillips supervises probation officers, he does not
have the authority to hire or fire probation officers.
(Id. ¶ 4). That authority lies with the Judges
to whom he reports. (Id.). In addition to his
supervisory responsibilities, Chief Phillips carries a
reduced caseload of probationers whom he directly supervises,
oversees the budget of the Probation Department, prepares
quarterly reports concerning caseloads and revenues and
presents the probation budget to the Jackson County Council
during annual budget hearings. (Id.).
is funded through a combination of user fees and
appropriations from the county council. (Id. ¶
5). If user fees are less than projected, Chief Phillips is
required to go back to the council for an additional
appropriation. (Id. ¶ 14).
the probation budget is payroll for the probation officers
and staff. (Id.). Indiana probation officers must be
paid a minimum salary according to a schedule set by the
Indiana Judicial Council. (Id.). The minimum salary
depends upon years of experience. (Id.).
began his employment with the Probation Department on
February 12, 1996; he was 29 years old. (Filing No. 29,
Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 14). Until 2011, Plaintiff
worked in the Brownstown office, supervising felony and
juvenile cases. (Filing No. 63-1, Deposition of Brian Tidd
(“Plaintiff Dep.”) at 45). In August 2011,
Plaintiff requested a transfer to the Seymour office.
(Id. at 67). Chief Phillips agreed to let Plaintiff
transfer, but warned him that caseloads and revenues from
Superior Court 1 were dropping and that, at some future
point, there may no longer be two probation officers for that
court. (Phillips Decl. ¶¶ 8, 9, and Ex. E).
The Seymour Office
the transfer occurred, the two probation officers in Seymour
were Plaintiff and Gregory Scott. (Plaintiff Dep. at 67;
Phillips Decl. ¶¶ 9, 26, and Ex. E). On August 22,
2011, Chief Phillips issued a letter to both Plaintiff and
Scott, which noted the decline in the caseload at the Seymour
office. (Phillips Decl. ¶¶ 8, 9; Plaintiff Dep. at
74-75). In the letter, Phillips stated, “[T]he way the
caseloads are falling at [the Seymour office], I do not know
how much longer I will be able to justify stationing two
full-time probation officers in Seymour.” (Phillips
Decl., Ex. E). Chief Phillips added that “if caseloads
continue to fall as they have been falling, I can see the day
when we will have only a fulltime probation officer at
Seymour, or a full-time and part-time probation officer to
handle the [Seymour office] caseload.” (Id.).
October 2013, Chief Phillips noticed a significant drop in
the caseload and fee collections for the Seymour office.
(Id. ¶¶ 10, 12, and Exs. F, G). On October
21, 2013, Phillips addressed the declining revenues and
caseload in a memorandum to the Judges. The Memo stated:
• “The situation in the [Seymour] Probation
Department has deteriorated more quickly than anticipated and
the judges should be made aware of the details.”
• The caseload for the Seymour office, not including
alcohol and drug cases, dropped to 122, which “is less
than a full caseload for one ...