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January 2013

Denver Employment Team Wins Six Summary Judgment Motions

On Jan. 11, an employment team from Gordon & Rees’s Denver office -- including senior counsel John Keen and associates Heather Gwinn Pabon and Emma Skivington -- obtained summary judgment on behalf of a nursing home and rehabilitation center in the District Court of Adams County, Colorado.
Six of the defendant’s former employees asserted claims alleging breach of implied contract, quantum meruit, and violations of Colorado’s Wage Order.  Two of those plaintiffs also asserted wrongful-termination claims. The defendant terminated the six employees for alleged workplace violations including theft, harassment, breaching confidentiality of patients, threatening behavior, and poor performance. Discovery requests were propounded to all plaintiffs, including requests for admissions. Four months overdue and after the defendant filed summary judgment, discovery responses were submitted for five of the six plaintiffs. 
The defendant sought summary judgment based on the merits of the case and on the plaintiffs’ failure to allege any claims as a matter of law.  In response to the six motions for summary judgment, the plaintiffs requested more time to complete discovery and argued that because the discovery cutoff was not until June 2012, the defendant's motions were premature. 

In the order granting summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs' claims, the court ruled that the plaintiffs' conclusory request to delay ruling on the motions in abeyance pending additional discovery was insufficient because the plaintiffs failed to explain why facts precluding summary judgment could not be presented and how additional time would enable them to rebut the defendant's argument that no genuine issue of material fact existed.
The court also addressed the merits of the case and determined that the plaintiffs were paid in full for their services and failed to demonstrate that there were any disputed issues of material fact regarding the wages and other benefits they received. Finally, the court found no evidence supporting the plaintiffs' wrongful-termination claims.

Click here for the order.

Heather M. Gwinn Pabon