Case Summary: Driskell vs. Summit Contracting Group, Inc.

Charlotte, NC – May 13, 2019
Here’s a recent case that we argued and won in favor of our client (the plaintiff). Here are the highlights:

  • The plaintiff (Driskell) was unjustly fired and sued his former employer (Summit Contracting) for wrongful discharge.
  • It began with the plaintiff reporting several instances of his co-worker (Rhyner) abusing the company’s drug and alcohol policy. Driskell witnessed several occasions during work hours where Rhyner was drinking; Driskell was concerned for his safety and the safety of others on the job and felt it was necessary to report the abuse to management.
  • After several complaints by the plaintiff to management against Rhyner, the plaintiff was informally accused by Summit of conspiring against Rhyner without just cause.
  • Word of Driskell’s complaints got back to Rhyner, and one evening after work a physical and verbal argument between Driskell and Rhyner broke out.
  • It was during that argument that Driskell claims his employment was terminated by his manager. His manager claimed that Driskell verbally resigned.
  • Driskell sued his employer; seeking lost wages, damages and other fees.

Once the arguments were presented, the jury found in favor of Summit. There was no basis for finding that the jury could only rule in Summit’s favor on either of Driskell’s wrongful discharge claim or his request for punitive damages. Furthermore, the district court erred in requiring the plaintiff to elect between punitive damages and REDA attorneys’ fees. We made several arguments against this ruling (leveraging existing law to overturn the decision) and ultimately won awards for:

  • Lost wages and other economic losses
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Punitive or treble damages
  • Costs & attorneys’ fees