ILNews

Man not fired for being 'whistle-blower'

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff's former company, finding no evidence the company fired him in retaliation for being a whistle-blower.

In Donald A. Bregin v. Liquidebt Systems Inc. and SIRVA Inc., No. 08-1390, Donald Bregin filed a suit against Liquidebt (LSI) and SIRVA, claiming LSI fired him in retaliation for his refusal to participate in illegal accounting practices. LSI provided collection services for SIRVA, where Bregin originally worked until LSI hired him as vice president of operations. LSI had a contract with SIRVA to meet certain collection goals or face a financial penalty.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found undisputed facts that Bregin's suit must fail. Indiana is an employment-at-will state, and there are only rare occasions in which an employer can't terminate any employee for any reason, such as not firing someone who doesn't want to participate in criminal conduct, as in McClanahan v. Remington Freight Lines, Inc, 517 N.E.2d 390 (Ind. 1988).

Bregin claimed he couldn't lawfully stay silent about SIRVA's allegedly illegal accounting practices, but he never offered any specifics or identified what illegal act he was asked to commit or condone, wrote Judge Terence Evans.

Bregin also wanted the appellate court to find a new exception under Indiana's employment-at-will doctrine - that as a whistle-blower under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, he's afforded certain protections against wrongful discharge under state law. But again, Bregin failed to specify any law that has been violated and is vague in describing the irregularities in SIRVA's accounting practices, wrote Judge Evans.

Bregin also failed on his claim that SIRVA tortiously interfered with his employment at LSI. LSI's president testified that he was the only one who made the decision to fire Bregin after LSI's performance on the SIRVA account didn't reach its goal. In addition, SIRVA's complaint about LSI's performance under Bregin's leadership is justified based on LSI's performance and unprofessional conduct, wrote Judge Evans.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

ADVERTISEMENT