Court of Appeals Victory

In an opinion issued on May 16, 2016, Division One of the Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed the jury verdict in favor of Summit client, the City of Federal Way, on all claims brought against it by former employee Robert Piel and his wife. Mr. Piel had filed multiple claims against the City following his discharge in 2008 for making threatening comments in violation of his employer’s workplace violence policy, and for dishonesty during the ensuing investigation. Many of the claims were dismissed before trial based on motions advanced by Summit on the City’s behalf.

In a 2013 decision, the Washington Supreme Court determined that Mr. Piel could pursue his claim that he was wrongfully discharged in violation of public policy for engaging in protected union activity, notwithstanding the remedies available under the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act. At the 2014 trial, Mr. Piel contended that he was wrongfully discharged, and that the City should be required to pay over $1,000,000 in lost wages and benefits, as well as emotional distress damages, loss of consortium damages for his wife, and his attorney’s fees accrued over six years of litigation. At the conclusion of the eight-day trial, the jury rejected Mr. Piel’s claim that his discharge was substantially motivated by his protected union activity. Summit’s trial team was led by Shannon Phillips.

After Mr. Piel appealed the jury verdict and summary judgment dismissals of certain claims, Summit represented the City before the Court of Appeals and utlimately acheived this favorable ruling.

The unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals can be found here.

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