Monday, August 30, 2010

Former CEO not Entitled to Indemnification at this Point

In Flood v. ClearOne Communications, Inc., the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals---the appellate court having jurisdiction over Utah----overruled a Utah district court judges decision that an employer was required to continue to pay its former CEO's criminal defense costs.  The district court had concluded that the agreement that the former CEO and ClearOne had reached must be interpreted to require indemnification because otherwise the contract was illusory.  The district court therefore forced ClearOne to pay 60% of the CEO's defense cost and pay the other 40% in to an escrow account for later payment if the Court determined the fees were reasonable.  The Tenth Circuit disagreed with the district court, saying that the contract was not illusory and ,even if it were, the district court should have refused to enforce it rather than force ClearOne to abide by it.  It therefore reversed the district court's decision.  The Tenth Circuit left open the question as to whether the district court could later enter a new order requiring indemnification.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Demoted School Administrator Age Discrimination Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed

In Jones v. Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Tenth Circuit---the federal appellate court having jurisdiction over Utah--- overruled the decision of the trial court dismissing the claims of a school administrator for having too weak of a case of discrimination.  Although the trial court ruled that the administrator had presented evidence of discrimination, it ruled that the evidence was just not strong enough.  The Tenth Circuit rejected the analysis and explained that the administrator "was under no obligation to provide additional evidence of age discrimination" and should have been permitted to present her case to a jury.

Public Employer Not Immune From Suit for Firing for a Claim that He Was Fired for Losing A Defamation Claim

On August 24, 2010, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals---the federal court having jurisdiction over Utah---ruled in Deutsch v. Jordan that a sheriff could continue in his claims against a city manager for firing him for what she claimed was his false testimony in a private law suit he brought against a citizen.  The private citizen had claimed that the sheriff had misappropriated money to purchase a laptop computer.  After making the accusation, the sheriff brought a claim of defamation against the citizen in small claims court.  The sheriff lost the case and afterward was fired by the city manager for alleged false statements made in the court proceeding. 

The sheriff then brought a claim against the city manager for violation of his first amendment right to free speech.  The city manager claimed that the sheriff's testimony in trial was not protected speach and that, even if it were, she was entitled to immunity from suit.  The Tenth Circuit rejected both arguments and affirmed the district court's determination that the sheriff could continue with his claim against the city manager.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Utah Court of Appeals Upholds Workers Compensation Decision Allowing Surgery

On August 19, 2010, the Utah Court of Appeals upheld the Utah Labor Commission Appeals Board's order affirming a decision permitting a surgery that was required after an employee suffered an industrial injury.  In Resort Retainers v. Labor Commission, the Court of Appeals ruled that Labor Commission Appeals Board had not erred when it affirmed the ALJ's decision to allow the petitioner to file a doctor's opinion late in the proceeding and the ALJ's decision to refer the matter to a medical panel, and when the Appeals Board affirmed the medical panel recommended surgery.