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Kansas Corrections civil lawsuit dismissed

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(MGN Image)(KWQC)
Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 2:14 PM CDT
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The civil lawsuit filed against a Kansas corrections superintendent whom an employee alleged grabbed her arm and used offensive language to her has been dismissed, according to court records.

During the lawsuit, Michelle Valdivia, an accountant at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex, alleged she suffered "outrage" at the hands of Kyle Rohr, then the KJCC superintendent, during a work place dispute.

In February, Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson ruled that Valdivia's argument that she suffered "outrage" during the incident fell short of the Kansas law defining "outrage."

In the Valdivia lawsuit, she said that on December 21, 2017, when a disagreement surfaced, Rohr grabbed her arm twice, yelled at her and used offensive language. Valdivia filed a civil lawsuit against Rohr and the Kansas Department of Corrections.

The defendants countered that Rohr raised his voice to Valdivia and put his hand on her arm "in an attempt to get her to face him."

In the lawsuit, Valdivia made claims against the defendants for negligence, battery and the tort of outrage.

The tort of outrage requires intentional acts by the defendant in reckless disregard of the plaintiff; "extreme and outrageous" actions; that the plaintiff suffered "extreme and severe" mental distress; and the plaintiff's distress was linked to the defendant's actions.

Conduct is extreme and outrageous when recitation of the facts to the average citizen would rouse resentment against the "actor and lead that citizen to spontaneously exclaim, 'outrageous!' " the judge wrote.

Rohr's behavior didn't meet that threshold of extreme and outrageous conduct, the judge wrote.

"While this is certainly not acceptable workplace behavior, it is also not conduct sufficient to support a claim for outrage under Kansas law," Watson wrote.

Following a short trial in Topeka Municipal Court on July 19, 2018, Rohr was convicted of one count of misdemeanor battery of a co-worker, a class B offense, and was fined $150 and ordered to pay court costs of $153.

In July 2019, Rohr appealed the Municipal Court conviction to Shawnee County District Court, then pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct tied to his behavior with Valdivia. Rohr was fined $100, ordered to pay court costs of $76, and instructed to completed a 12-hour anger management course.

The disorderly conduct plea in Shawnee County District Court was a class C offense.

Rohr resigned as KJCC superintendent in July 2018.

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