Indiana Copyright Litigation: Former School Employee Sues Schools for Unauthorized Use of Copyrighted Program


South Bend, IndianaPro se Plaintiff Angela E. Brooks-Ngwenya, of Fort Wayne, Indiana has filed a copyright complaint in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that The Mind Trust, United Way of Central Indiana, Central Indiana Education Alliance, Phalen Leadership Academies, and Indianapolis Public Schools (“IPS”), all of Indianapolis, Indiana, committed copyright infringement.

Plaintiff contends that she piloted a program, Transitioning Into Responsible Students (“TIRS”) at Gambold Middle School in 2002. She claims that she filed for copyright protection on TIRS in 2006 and that she received a copyright registration in 2008 from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Brooks-Ngwenya claims that her copyrighted material has been infringed by several of Defendants’ programs, including Bridges To Success Education School Model and the Phalen Leadership Academies Education Model.

According to documents filed with the court, prior federal litigation between Brooks-Ngwenya and IPS, which included allegations by Plaintiff of race and gender discrimination, was concluded through a confidential settlement agreement between the parties. Brooks-Ngwenya asserts that these current claims of copyright infringement were excluded from that settlement agreement. Prior litigation between the parties in Marion County court included disability claims made by Brooks-Ngwenya.

Plaintiff drafted a cease and desist order for the court’s review as part of her filing and asked that the court enforce it pending a settlement. She also requested a mediation hearing.

The case was assigned to Judge Jon E. DeGuilio and Magistrate Judge Susan L. Collins in the Northern District of Indiana and assigned Case No. 1:15-cv-00255-JD-SLC.


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