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Summary Judgment Won For Defense In Wrongful Termination Case…

Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith (GJTBS) attorneys Tommy Smith, Kelly Hartmann, and Wesley Pitts won summary judgment for the defense in a wrongful termination case, which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently affirmed. The plaintiff brought breach of contract and fraud claims seeking damages allegedly arising out of her wrongful termination from employment with the defendant.  The trial court rendered summary judgment and dismissed the claims based on two findings: (1) that plaintiff’s arbitration demand did not toll the four-year limitations period applicable to her breach of contract and fraud claims; and (2) that the plaintiff’s claims were time barred. On appeal the plaintiff argued that the limitations were equitably “tolled” due to a unilateral attempt to demand arbitration, without providing any evidence that an agreement by the parties regarding arbitration even existed. Agreeing with the defendant’s argument, the Court found that the plaintiff should have first filed suit in the appropriate state or federal court.  Thereafter, she could have sought a stay of the state/federal court action pending arbitration.  Filing an arbitration demand in lieu of a lawsuit did not toll the statute of limitations.