Judge Issues $5.4 Million Verdict to Former DynCorp Employee

Judge Bruce White, Fairfax Circuit Court Judge, issued the verdict this morning, after three days of trial. The amount was $5,401,555.35 (as of today, with the prejudgment interest). Rod Leffler and I (along with Rod's partner, Alexa Mosley, and my partner, Carla Brown was involved in much of the litigation and motions practice) represented Gerald York, a former employee of DynCorp who was terminated first without cause (under a lay off), and then 10 days later for cause. DynCorp would not pay his Retention Bonus, because they found a gun in his drawer after they changed the locks and told him not to come back. They tried to use that as a basis to terminate him for cause, so they would not have to pay the Retention Bonus. DynCorp terminated Col. York for cause 10 days after DynCorp terminated him not for cause (DynCorp claimed that since it provided 2 weeks' notice, he was still an employee, so it could still terminate him for cause). Under the Retention Agreement, Gerald York had a right to notice and an opportunity to cure before termination for cause, which DynCorp did not do, claiming that the violation of their weapons policy was material and not curable because of the imminent danger to employees.

Judge White found that notice must be given, that DynCorp had contracted to provide notice and an opportunity to cure, under the circumstances it was curable, and Gerald York was therefore entitled to the Retention payment, plus interest from March 11, 2011 at 6%.

The attorneys on the other side were Steve Robinson, David Greenspan and Hans Riede from McGuire Woods. Highest offer: $1.9 million; lowest demand: $4.9 million.

Other significant events: DynCorp's expert was excluded because the Designation was insufficient, under Crane. Also - the Court chastised counsel for DynCorp for discovery abuses during trial, including not providing clearly available information in discovery, claiming it was not aware of any documents, and substituting its own self-serving documents for the actual documents requested. There were also misrepresentations made by counsel for DynCorp on the record that were disproven by documents and deposition testimony.

Thanks for your support! This was an ugly litigation, but Justice prevailed and the good guy won.

– submitted by Elaine Charlson Bredehoft

Newsletter Volume: 
Newsletter - March/April 2012
March