John Bufe recently represented a Tyler employer in litigation in the 7th Judicial District Court, Smith County, Texas, defending against an employee claiming wrongful termination of employment. The employee sought employment reinstatement and the recovery of benefits and damages through a jury trial. In order to avoid the risk and expense associated with a full-blown jury trial, Potter Minton filed a Motion for Summary Judgment with the Court, showing that the lawsuit was unjustified.
In this case the employee had previously filed a Grievance under the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was previously negotiated by the Company and its labor union. Potter Minton was successful in convincing the Court that the Grievance/Arbitration Procedure under the Collective Bargaining Agreement was the appropriate forum where this dispute should be addressed, and that a lawsuit was not legally permitted. Under federal labor laws, a grievance-arbitration proceeding under a union contract bars the employee from filing a lawsuit concerning the same issues presented in the grievance or arbitration.
The Court agreed with the Motion and dismissed the lawsuit against the employer. Potter Minton routinely files Motions for Summary Judgment, where appropriate, to end civil litigation quickly and thereby avoid the inconvenience, expense and risks associated with unnecessary jury trials in state and federal court. Mr. Bufe is the head of Potter Minton’s Litigation Section, and is Board Certified in employment law.