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2726 S. Brentwood Blvd. St. Louis MO 63144

Missouri Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Exclusive Causation Standard in Public Policy Wrongful Termination Cases

On November 4, 2009, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments on whether exclusive causation should be maintained as the standard in Missouri wrongful termination claims under the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. The cases at issue were Flehner v. Pepose Vision Inst., SC90032 and Margiotta v. Christian Hospital Northeast Northwest, SC90249.

Fleshner involved the reporting of overtime violations by an employee. The trial court presented to the jury an instruction not requiring proof of exclusive causation. Plaintiff prevailed and was awarded $95,000.00 in punitive damages. The plaintiff in Margiotta reported concerns with patient safety and was subsequently terminated. The defendant was granted summary judgment based upon plaintiff being unable to establish exclusive causation.

The Missouri Supreme Court granted transfer of both cases with arguments occurring on the same day. On behalf of the Plaintiffs, it was argued to the Missouri Supreme Court by Jerome J. Dobson of Dobson, Goldberg, Berns & Rich, LLP that the proper standard in public policy tort cases should be the contributing cause or factor test. This standard was previously established by this firm as the standard in Missouri Human Rights Act claims. See Daugherty v. City of Maryland Heights. Plaintiff further argued to the Court that it is often difficult or impossible to establish exclusive causation and that the appropriate and traditionally accepted standard in tort law is the contributing cause standard. Defendants' counsel argued that the public policy exception is narrow and that exclusive causation is consistent with the purpose of the public policy exception.

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The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley represents clients in labor law, employment law and employment discrimination matters throughout the State of Missouri, including St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Boone County, Jefferson County, Lincoln County, Jackson County, Phelps County, Franklin County, Ste. Genevieve, St. Clair and the Cities of St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Charles, O'Fallon, Lake St. Louis, Hillsboro, Troy, Clayton, Rolla, Columbia, Jefferson City, Kirksville, Farmington, Cuba, Augusta, Union, Maryland Heights, Cape Girardeau and Springfield.

Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley, LLC - Missouri Employment Lawyer
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