Successful Defense of Coal Company in Wrongful Discharge Civil Action

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Bowles Rice defended a large coal company and its foreman in a wrongful discharge civil action.  The Plaintiff alleged that he was repeatedly subjected to threats of violence by one of his co-workers, an underground coal miner and, after the company conducted a human resources investigation into his complaints, he was forced to continue working with that individual.  The Plaintiff claimed this situation allegedly resulted in an intolerable work environment that forced him to quit his job and, based on these allegations, filed a complaint asserting the following causes of action: (1) wrongful termination; (2) retaliatory discharge; (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED); (4) assault; (5) negligent retention; and (6) violation of statute. 

Bowles Rice utilized an aggressive defense strategy to seek a complete dismissal of this case prior to the discovery process.  In response to the Plaintiff’s complaint, the Defense filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Plaintiff’s wrongful termination and retaliatory discharge claims were not only duplicative, but were also unsupported by a substantial public policy as required by case law.  Moreover, the Defense argued that the Plaintiff’s common law tort claims for IIED, assault and negligent retention were barred by the exclusivity and immunity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.  Finally, the Defense argued that the Plaintiff’s general statutory claim did not provide for either an express or implied cause of action.  On February 12, 2014, the Court conducted a hearing on the motion and granted the Defendants’ motion, dismissing all of the Plaintiff’s claims, with prejudice.