TORTS (wrongful termination): Brett v. Media General Operations, Inc. (COA 1/29/2010)

Media General Operations, Inc.

2008-CA-000620 01/29/2010 2010 WL

Opinion by Senior Judge Harris; Judges Lambert and
VanMeter concurred. The court affirmed a summary judgment entered by the
circuit court in favor of appellant’s former employer, a television
station, and its general manager and an order awarding costs to the
employer. The Court first held that summary judgment was not based upon
improper evidence when the majority of the proof consisted of witness
depositions that were properly certified and notarized. Further,
appellant’s deposition was complete, as he did not request a re-direct
examination, nor did he file an affidavit to explain, correct, or
contradict the testimony he gave under examination by opposing counsel,
which was authorized by CR 56.03. The Court also held that although the
employer and general manager may have violated office policies by
destroying documents, appellant failed to demonstrate that any law or
court orders were violated or that they were lost or destroyed in
anticipation of litigation. The Court next held that appellant failed to
present evidence demonstrating any genuine issue of material fact on
his breach of contract claim. His contract contained a morals clause and
his termination letter made it clear that he was terminated for cause
after four women complained that he had sexually harassed them on
numerous occasions. Absent a specific contractual provision, the
employer was under no obligation to provide additional investigative
measures or an opportunity to be heard. The Court next held that
appellant failed to demonstrate the existence of any genuine issue of
material fact on the basic element of material misrepresentation to
support his claim that he was fraudulently induced into entering the
employment contract. The Court next held that appellant failed to show
how his allegations of misrepresentations and improper termination
constituted contractual interference. The Court next held that appellant
failed to specifically describe any alleged defamatory statements or
state where they were published to show how the employer was responsible
for dissemination of information to support a claim for defamation. The
Court next held that appellant failed to produce evidence to show that
his termination was outrageous or intolerable in the manner required
under Kentucky law to support his claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. The Court finally held that the ruling by the
Kentucky Supreme Court in the employer’s favor, in an original action
wherein appellant argued that the trial court lost jurisdiction under CR
52.02 to award costs after appellant filed his Notice of Appeal, was
dispositive of the appeal from the order awarding costs.