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Man not fired for being 'whistle-blower'

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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.

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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