CAROL PETSCHONEK v. THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF MEMPHIS, ET AL. (Tenn. Ct. App. May 23, 2012)
Defendant employer moved for summary judgment in this common law retaliatory discharge action on the grounds that Plaintiff employee was not an employee-at-will and that Plaintiff had failed to identify any law or clear public policy allegedly violated by Defendant. The trial court denied the motion.
We granted permission for interlocutory appeal. On appeal, Defendant raises the issue of whether the courts lack jurisdiction under the ministerial exception. We hold that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. We also hold that Plaintiff was not an at-will employee, and therefore cannot establish a prima facie case of common law retaliatory discharge. The trial court’s judgment denying Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is reversed.
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