MARION COUNTY, IN - A U.S. appeals court says a lawsuit by two forensic pathologists accusing a former Indiana coroner of racism can continue.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned a ruling by a trial judge that threw out the original case brought against former Marion County, Ind., coroner Kenneth Ackles by Drs. Stephen Radentz and Michele Catellier, The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday.
Midway through his single term, Ackles, who left office in 2008, canceled an autopsy contract with the two doctors, who operated as Forensic Pathology Associates of Indiana.
Radentz and Catellier, who are white, claimed that Ackles -- who is black -- wanted black pathologists to perform the work, the Star reported.
Ackles signed a contract in late 2006 with Dr. Joye Carter, the current chief forensic pathologist, without a national search, the suit said. She is black.
Last year, U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence dismissed the suit filed by Radentz and Catellier, saying the evidence didn't indicate a racial motivation.
But in the appeals court reversal, Judge Ilana Rovner wrote the evidence "indicates that race, rather than cost concerns, (was) the true reason for the decision."
A jury should decide whether the termination was discriminatory, the appeals court said.