Articles Posted in Employment Law

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Hancock Country Deputy Sheriff Christopher Sargent struck a deer with his patrol car while driving over the speed limit without cause. The County Commissioners voted to collect from Sargent the $1000 insurance deductible paid by the County for the damages to the patrol car. County Sheriff William Clark, Sargent, and the Union of which Sargent was a member (collectively, Plaintiffs) subsequently filed a Me. R. Civ. P. 80B appeal seeking judicial review of the Commissioners’ votes and seeking a declaration that the Commissioners exceeded their authority in requiring Sargent to pay the $1000 deductible. The Commissioners subsequently rescinded the votes seeking to collect the insurance deductible from Sargent. Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, and the Commissioners field a cross-motion for summary judgment. The superior court entered summary judgment in favor of the Commissioners, concluding that Plaintiffs’ Rule 80B appeal was moot and the request for a declaratory judgment was unripe. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Rule 80B appeal was moot and none of the recognized exceptions to the mootness doctrine applied in this case; and (2) Plaintiffs’ request for a declaratory judgment was unripe for judicial review because no genuine controversy existed.View "Clark v. Hancock County Comm’rs" on Justia Law

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Vescom Corporation provided security services for a mill. Richard Hickson worked for Vescom at the mill. After then-Governor John Baldacci and his party visited the mill without wearing the proper footwear, Hickson sent the Governor an email expressing his concerns about the safety issues he noticed. Upon learning about the email, Vescom terminated Hickson’s employment. Hickson filed a complaint against Vescom. After a jury trial, the superior court found that Vescom had violated the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act by terminating Hickson’s employment. On appeal, Vescom argued that Hickson failed to make a protected whistleblower’s report because the conduct he reported was not undertaken by his employer, Vescom. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in the context of this case, Hickson’s report fell directly under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. View "Hickson v. Vescom Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Employment Law

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Kennebec County participated in the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MPERS), and at all times relevant to this appeal, eligible County employees had the option of joining MPERS. Some County employees were not informed about their eligibility to join the retirement system, which resulted in a hearing before the MPERS’s Board of Trustees. The Board implicitly or explicitly concluded that (1) MPERS had authority to adjudicate claims that some County employees were inadequately advised of their option to join MPERS at the time the employees were initially hired; (2) at the initial hiring of each employee, the County was obligated to adequately inform its employees of their eligibility to participate in the MPERS retirement plan; and (3) the County failed to meet that obligation with respect to certain employees. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that MPERS and the Board lacked statutory authority to decide disputes relating to information about opportunities to join MPERS. Remanded.View "Kennebec County v. Me. Pub. Employees Ret. Sys." on Justia Law