SFMS Announces Decision Denying Defendants’ Motion For Summary Judgment In Wisconsin Case Involving The Public Policy Exception To The Employment At Will Doctrine

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP (“SFMS”) is pleased to announce that on February 9, 2008, the Circuit Court for the State of Wisconsin, Outgamie County, the Hon. Mark McGinnis presiding, denied a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, Boyland Auto Appleton, LLC (“Boyland Auto”) and David Hoffmann (collectively, “Defendants”), in an action captioned, Troy A. Schounard v. Boyland Auto Appleton, LLC and David Hoffmann, Case No. 07-CV-735.

The case was brought on behalf of Plaintiff, Troy A. Schounard (“Plaintiff”), who alleges that his employment as a Sales Manager for Boyland Auto was wrongfully terminated because he refused to participate in what he believed to be fraudulent and unlawful business practices. Plaintiff alleges that he was wrongfully terminated in a manner contrary to public policy.

On December 6, 2007, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint and for Summary Judgment, arguing that Plaintiff was an employee “at will” and, thus, could be terminated for good cause, for no cause, or even for cause that was morally wrong. In response, Plaintiff argued that the public policy exception to the employment at will doctrine applied and, therefore, it was unlawful for Plaintiff to be terminated. Under Wisconsin’s public policy exception to the common law employment “at will” doctrine, an employer may not lawfully discharge an employee for reasons that are contrary to public policy. Plaintiff argued that there are genuine disputes of material fact that preclude summary judgment against Plaintiff, as facts exist showing that Plaintiff’s discharge was contrary to and violated public policy. The Court agreed with Plaintiff and denied Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and For Summary Judgment.

SFMS congratulates Douglas P. Dehler on this important decision and for his ongoing work on this matter.