Anthony Ostlund defends Fortune 100 technology retailer against retaliatory discharge claim under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act
Our client, a Fortune 100 technology retailer, was sued by a former employee. In a factually-detailed complaint, the former employee alleged that he had been discharged in retaliation for his reports of supposedly illegal conduct – reports that, according to him, were protected by the Minnesota Whistleblower Act. The Minnesota Whistleblower Act prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise retaliating against employees because they, “in good faith, [reported] a violation or suspected violation of any … law to an employer or to a governmental body or law enforcement official.” The plaintiff/former-employee sought $3 – 5 million in damages and settlement did not appear to be an option.
The Anthony Ostlund Approach
Because wrongful termination cases are so fact intensive, courts can be reluctant to dismiss them. We immediately initiated an active defense of the claim. Following several rounds of depositions, we brought a motion for summary judgment and asked the court to dismiss the former employee’s claims. We argued that the former employee failed to present any evidence that our client had violated any laws or that any alleged violation caused his termination.
The district court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the claims. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed. Our client successfully defended all claims against it and never paid a penny to the former employee.