On June 13, 2016, Gordon & Rees Denver partner Laurie J. Rust and associate Surbhi Garg secured the voluntary dismissal of a wrongful termination case in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
The plaintiff, a former manufacturing employee, alleged that his employment was terminated in violation of public policy after he filed for worker’s compensation benefits. He filed claims of wrongful termination and retaliation in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1981. He alleged that the company hires and takes advantage of undocumented and uneducated immigrants including, among other allegations, by failing to provide appropriate treatment for workplace injuries. The evidence showed that, following a fall from the loading dock, the employee was sent to an occupational health clinic and the employer followed all restrictions. Several months later, the employee requested extended leave to visit his family abroad. The request was denied, but the employee took the trip anyway. When he failed to report to work as scheduled, the employer terminated his employment.
Gordon & Rees attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, noting the lack of causal connection between the allegations and the termination. It also sought an award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to a Colorado statutory provision that seeks to discourage frivolous litigation by allowing defendants to recover their fees on a successful motion to dismiss in any case involving state law tort claims.
Faced with the very real threat of losing on the motion to dismiss and an award of attorneys’ fees, opposing counsel agreed to a walk-away and full release. The firm's client won without even having to file a reply brief!