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Powers v. Vista Chem. Co.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 21408
Nos. 96-30138, 109 F.3d 1089/(5th Cir., 04/11/1997)

The court holds that a former petrochemical plant employee failed to prove that the plant terminated him in retaliation for his disclosure of an environmental violation to his supervisor and, therefore, is not entitled to compensation under Louisiana's environmental whistleblower statute. The court first holds that the employee is required to prove that his employer's adverse employment action was motivated by the employee's disclosure of an environmental violation. Otherwise, the statute would be transformed into a wrongful discharge statute that covers adverse employment decisions having nothing to do with an employee's disclosure of an environmental violation. The court next holds that the evidence is insufficient to support a finding that the plant was motivated to terminate the employee because of the employee's disclosure. This failure to present sufficient evidence is fatal to the employee's claim. The only jury verdict that the evidence is sufficient to support is that the plant fired the employee for his insubordinate conduct in a meeting with his supervisor.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Leonard K. Knapp Jr.
Law Offices of Leonard K. Knapp Jr.
130 W. Broad St., Lake Charles LA 70602
(318) 439-1700

Counsel for Defendants
Scott J. Scofield
Scofield, Gerard, Veron, Singletary & Pohorelsky
1114 Ryan St., Lake Charles LA 70601
(318) 433-9436

Before POLITZ, Chief Judge, and WIENER and STEWART, Circuit Judges.