1. a. Why did Lloyd lose this lawsuit?
b. Why did the Iowa Supreme Court decide that Lloyd had failed to establish the public policy exception?
c. Are you more convinced by the Iowa Supreme Court’s reasoning, or the rationale offered by Drake to the District Court and on appeal? Explain.
2. Was Drake’s decision to terminate Lloyd an appropriate response to this difficult situation? Explain.
3. Schuster worked, in an at-will relationship, for Derocili for 15 months, during which time she claims he touched her inappropriately and made numerous sexual comments despite her repeated rejections of those behaviors. Schuster received bonuses and good evaluations, but in a meeting between Schuster, Derocili, and Schuster’s direct supervisor, Goff, she was fired for poor performance. Schuster’s sexual harassment complaint with the Delaware Department of Labor was rejected as unsubstantiated. She sued Derocili for breach of contract, but the trial court dismissed that complaint. She appealed.
a. Does Schuster have a legitimate wrongful discharge claim? Explain.
b. Does she have any other plausible causes of action? Explain.
4. In 2004, Touchstone Television Productions hired Nicollette Sheridan to play Edie Britt in the television series Desperate Housewives. Touchstone’s agreement with Sheridan gave it the exclusive option to renew her services on an annual basis for up to an additional six seasons; Touch-stone exercised this option for seasons 2 through 5. In February 2009, Touchstone informed the actress that it would not exercise its option for season 6, and that Edie Britt would be killed in a car accident during season 5. Sheridan alleged that Touchstone’s decision was motivated by her complaint regarding a September 2008 incident in which Marc Cherry, the show’s creator, allegedly hit her, amounting to a wrongful termination in breach of public policy. Decide. Explain. Touchstone Television Prod. v. Sheridan, 208 Cal. App. 4th 676 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012).
5. IBP operated a large hog-processing plant in Storm Lake, Iowa. IBP prohibited possession of “look-alike drugs” on company property. An employee, Michael Huegerich, was randomly and lawfully inspected as he was entering the plant. The inspection revealed an asthma medication, Maxalert, which was identical in appearance to an illegal street drug, “speed.” Maxalert contained the stimulant ephedrine. The pills actually belonged to his girlfriend and were in his possession by accident. Huegerich was terminated for possessing a look-alike drug in violation of company policy. Huegerich admitted that he was generally aware of IBP drug policies, but since he was a transfer from another IBP division, he had not gone through the company orientation program where new employees were advised of the policy against look-alike drugs. About six months after his dismissal, two IBP employees told Huegerich that they had heard he was fired for possessing speed. Huegerich then sued IBP for, among other claims, wrongful discharge and defamation.
At trial, Huegerich provided no evidence as to how, when, and from whom the IBP employees had heard that he was terminated for possession of speed. The district court found for Huegerich in the amount of $ 24,000 on the wrong-ful discharge claim and $ 20,000 on the defamation claim. The court said that IBP was guilty of negligent discharge in failing to inform Huegerich about its drug policy. IBP appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa law recognizes the doctrine of at-will employment with “narrow” exceptions for public policy violations and where a contract is created by an employer’s handbook. Decide. Explain.
6. Freeman, a television anchorperson employed by KSN, gave birth to her second child. On the day she returned from the hospital, she was notified that she had been dismissed. Six weeks later, she became unable to lactate. She sued KSN for wrongful discharge, tortious interference with contract, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Decide. Explain.
Lloyd does not dispute he was an at-will employee. As a consequence, Drake could fire him for any lawful reason or for no reason at all. A discharge is not lawful, however, when it violates public policy. Lloyd claims Drake violated public policy and thereby committed the tort of wrongful discharge when it fired him simply for upholding the criminal laws, i.e., attempting to arrest Joseph; a man he thought was assaulting a student.

  • CreatedOctober 02, 2015
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