By Daniel Shatz, Assistant Appellate Defender
For those of you who just cannot get enough Duke Lacrosse news, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion on August 2, 2011 in a civil case involving a lawsuit filed by the DNA tester, Brian Meehan, against his former company, which had fired him “for cause.” Not surprisingly, the Court held that submitting an incomplete lab report that obscured the test results constituted just cause to fire Meehan both under the express terms of his employment contract and as a matter of public policy.
Although it is a civil case about employment rights, the Court’s language regarding public policy and incomplete, obscuring lab reports should be helpful for anyone working on a case involving bad SBI lab reports. The case is Meehan, v. American Media Int’l. The most helpful language is at p. 26-27 of the slip opinion:
In the present case, Plaintiff’s misconduct involves intentionally obscuring evidence and submitting an incomplete report in a court of law when clear explanation of the test results would have exculpated individuals wrongly charged. We believe public policy supports the conclusion that such misconduct is grounds for just cause termination of employment.