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Starkey cases to be moved to federal court

We have previously written on this blog about the wrongful termination claims against Starkey Laboratories. At this point, the company has been hit with three wrongful termination lawsuits. The latest development in the ongoing litigation is that two of the lawsuits have been transferred to federal court.

The third case, the one involving former president Jerry Ruzicka, is apparently headed to mediation. Each of the three former employees in the Starkey litigation is seeking compensation for their termination, totaling to millions of dollars in addition to other damages.

The transfer of the two cases to federal court comes after U.S. attorney Andrew Luger had intervened in the case. Luger’s office had sought last month to halt discovery in those cases in Hennepin County District Court out of concern that it would compromise ongoing criminal investigations against the company. The motion to halt discovery was abandoned last minute, though, in favor of removing the cases to federal court.

Sources weren’t clear about why Luger’s office is moving the cases to the federal court system. There are various reasons why an employment law case might be moved to federal court, though the government’s involvement in the case is rare. When it is possible to move an employment law case to federal court, the defendant or the plaintiff may seek a transfer in order to take advantage of aspects of federal court that work in their favor.

Whatever the reasons for removing an employment law case to the federal system, it is important for plaintiffs in employment law cases to work with an experienced advocate to help them navigate the process, to ensure they take advantage of the protections available, and to present the strongest possible case in court.

Source: Star Tribune, “U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger moves Starkey lawsuits to federal court,” Dee Depass, June 21, 2016.

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