PITTSBURGH – December 3, 2021 – Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Labor & Employment attorneys, Jaime Tuite, shareholder and head of the Pittsburgh office, and Vanessa Wilson, associate, secured a win in The Third Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of client Rice Energy, now part of EQT Corporation.
The Court affirmed the Western District of Pennsylvania District Court’s grant of Motion to Dismiss on the Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower claim and Motion for Summary Judgment on Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower claims, age discrimination claims and national origin discrimination claims brought by Rice’s former Director of Completions following a termination of employment. The company discovered he had entered into a consulting agreement with another company in violation of conflict of interest policy.
The Third Circuit affirmed the District Court’s ruling that the Plaintiff, terminated in 2016, was not a “whistleblower” at the time of his alleged retaliation because he did not report the alleged securities violations until 2017, well after his employment ended.
The Court further held that the Plaintiff failed to meet the burden with respect to the age and national origin discrimination claims. Plaintiff, a 41 year old Canadian citizen, was terminated on the same date as his supervisor, a 31-year old American citizen, for the same reason and was replaced by another Canadian citizen. His termination was not pretextual and was based solely on his undisclosed conflict of interest.
More information on this case can be found in this Law360 article, "3rd Circ. Won't Revive Retaliation Suit Against Rice Energy."