LOKC wins summary judgment on whistleblower, defamation, and wage and hour claims

Attorneys Tim O’Brien and Tyler Smith recently won summary judgment on behalf of an employer who was sued for whistleblower retaliation, defamation, and back pay. The employee argued that the employer had retaliated against him for complaining about perceived breaches of his employment contract, made defamatory statements about him, and owed back wages as a result of misclassifying him as an salaried employee rather than an hourly employee.

Tim and Tyler argued that none of the claims had merit. First, the whistleblower claim is barred because complaints about one’s own employment contract is not a “violation of law” as that term is used in the Whistleblower Protection Act. Second, the defamation claim is barred because the employee failed to comply with the notice requirements of the Maine Tort Claims Act. And third, the plaintiff cannot establish that the wages he did receive are deficient under Maine’s wage and hour law, regardless of whether he was properly classified as a salaried employee.

In a 20-page decision, the Superior Court agreed with the arguments Tim and Tyler raised in their motion for summary judgment. As such, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the client.

Timothy J. O'Brien

Timothy J. O’Brien

Timothy J. O’Brien has over 25 years of litigation experience. As a former prosecutor and in the course of his work in civil litigation, he has tried numerous cases before judges and juries. His practice focuses on the many issues confronting businesses and individuals in today’s litigious society including employment, information security and collegiate sports law issues. Mr.… Read more »

Tyler J. Smith

Tyler J. Smith

Tyler Smith joined Libby O’Brien Kingsley & Champion as an associate in 2012. He represents clients in civil litigation, employment law, and criminal law matters in state and federal courts. Tyler is also a skilled appellate advocate. He has handled over 20 appeals, argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and… Read more »