ST. LOUIS – A financial institution was granted summary judgment in a wrongful discharge claim filed by a former employee.
Magistrate Judge Patricia L. Cohen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled June 12 to grant PNC Financial Services Group Inc.'s motion for summary judgment in the case filed by Joseph Meehan. Meehan opposed the defendant’s motion.
The ruling states the plaintiff began working for National City Bank as a state-certified general appraiser in 2004 and PNC acquired National City in 2009. Meehan alleged that while he was employed by the defendant, he was routinely required to ignore state, federal and professional licensing standards when reviewing appraisals and that because of his refusal to take part in allegedly unlawful practices, he was terminated in October 2015.
The plaintiff initially filed a petition in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County seeking monetary relief for wrongful termination. The defendant removed the case to federal court due to diversity of citizenship and filed a motion to dismiss for the plaintiff’s failure to state a claim. The ruling states the court originally denied the defendant’s motion and PNC moved for summary judgment, citing that Meehan did not present evidence that he or PNC violated specific law or that any connection existed between his alleged whistleblowing and his termination.
"...Aside from his own conclusory testimony, Meehan has not presented any evidence showing that his belief that certain PNC-approved appraisal reports violated public policy was objectively reasonable," Cohen wrote. "The record contains no expert testimony or case law supporting Meehan’s claim that a violation of (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) occurred or would have occurred had he approved the challenged appraisal reports that PNC approved."
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri case number 4:17-CV-2876