Case Studies

Health Care Executive Faces Potential Wrongful Termination

The Client

A senior health care executive

The Problem

The client, who had served as Chief Operating Officer, had worked to create the health care organization from the ground up and to grow it into a significant player in the state's healthcare sector. Years later, the founding executive director retired, and a new executive director arrived with a new team and strategic plan that deviated substantially from the practices that the client had implemented. The client's situation was becoming untenable.

The Approach

Brian worked with the client to analyze the terms of his employment agreement and to develop a strategy that would place him in the best position in the event his employer tried to terminate his contract. When the inevitable termination attempt took place, Brian negotiated the employee's departure with the employer's outside counsel.

The Result

Brian and his client obtained a favorable settlement beyond the severance terms in the employment agreement, allowing the client flexibility and time to consider future opportunities.

Manufacturer Faced with OSHA Lawsuit

The Client

A large international manufacturing company

The Problem

The client terminated an engineer who had complained internally about a workplace safety violation several months earlier. The former engineer then contacted OSHA, which launched a whistleblower investigation into his allegations of retaliation.

The Approach

After initial efforts at settlement were unsuccessful, Brian Pezza coordinated the company's response to OSHA's on-site investigation. He interviewed employees, composed a defense strategy, and prepared various witnesses (including supervisors and plant managers in Missouri and the former company president in Japan) to provide testimony.

The Result

OSHA agreed with the company's position that the employee had been terminated due to the elimination of his position, and not out of any retaliatory motivation. The determination was upheld by OSHA's Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs in Washington, DC, and the complaint was dismissed.

Missouri Municipality Requires Overhaul of Personnel Procedures Manual

The Client

A large Missouri municipality

The Problem

The client had a personnel procedures manual that had not been overhauled in decades.

The Approach

Brian Pezza went back to square one, synthesizing the existing manual with municipal ordinances, personnel codes, police department general orders, fire department standard operating guidelines, and multiple collective bargaining agreements. The project involved input from the client's top administrative, Human Resources, and legal officials.

The Result

When completed, the 100+ page manual was distributed to all employees electronically, and it clearly conveyed the administration's personnel policies to all stakeholders.

Tree-Trimming Business Faced with FMLA Retaliation and Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

The Client

A small, family-owned tree-trimming business

The Problem

The client was faced with an ongoing FMLA retaliation and disability discrimination lawsuit in Missouri federal court. The client's lead outside attorney withdrew to take another job, and the firm representing the client closed its doors.

The Approach

Shortly after the case arrived at Lewis Rice, Brian Pezza took over the file, reviewed the work done to date, and prepared a strategy. With little time remaining before trial, Brian re-took the plaintiff's deposition, uncovered discrepancies in his story, and used them to discredit his testimony at trial.

The Result

After three days of testimony, it took the jury only 27 minutes of deliberation before it issued a defense verdict on all counts.