American Family Care, Inc., v. SaltersAnnotate this Case
American Family Care, Inc. (AFC) petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the Jefferson Circuit Court to vacate its order staying a civil action filed by AFC against Anita Salters. Salters was a former employee of AFC, acting as the director of the center from 2007 to June 2010 before her employment was terminated. As director, she was responsible for handling billing issues and claim audits performed by insurance companies and governmental agencies. In some instances, Salters had the only copies of communications related to billing inquiries and claim audits. In April 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at AFC's corporate office. The FBI removed mostly billing records. After the search warrant was executed, AFC determined that it was missing corporate records it would need to defend itself against any criminal charges that might be filed as a result of the FBI investigation. According to AFC, several of its employees reported that Salters had been seen removing files and records from the corporate offices shortly before she was fired. AFC made written demand upon Salters for the return of the records, but she did not respond. AFC then sued Salters seeking the return of any business records she might have. Salters answered the complaint, denying that she had removed any AFC records from its offices. The trial court, sua sponte, entered an order staying AFC's action "until further notice." The trial court expressed no reason for entering the indefinite stay. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the indefinite stay ordered by the trial court, with no stated justification for it, was "immoderate" and beyond the scope of the trial court's discretion. For that reason, the Court granted AFC's petition and issued a writ of mandamus ordering the trial court to vacate its order staying AFC's action against Salters.