U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose has set a pre-trial hearing for the case against Fuyao Glass America and its chairman Cho Tak Wong (Cho), shortly after denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Dave Burrows, a former executive at the company, is suing the manufacturer for fraud, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, defamation and discrimination following his November 2016 termination.
Burrows worked at the company’s Dayton, Ohio, plant as the vice president of facilities. He alleges he was “terminated by Fuyao without cause and without written notice, and was not given any explanation, oral or written, for his termination.”
In June, the defendants motioned to dismiss the lawsuit, however, Rose found several of the complaints made by Burrows to be “plausible,” and denied the motion.
Prior to his employment in 2015, Burrows owned a Cold Stone Creamery franchise and held an executive position with the Dayton Development Coalition, both of which he claims Fuyao persuaded him to give up on the promise of continued employment and compensation through 2017.
Rose found the claim of fraud in the inducement plausible, and denied its dismissal.
The judge also denied the motion to dismiss the breach of contract claim, finding the language of the contract was enforceable. “… the employment contract’s language is clear and unambiguous as it pertains to the annual compensation minimum is guaranteed at $278,000,” Rose wrote. “This clear and unambiguous language also shows the compensation amount as guaranteed through 2017 and pro-rated for 2015.”
In addition, the court said Burrows “sufficiently pleaded the necessary elements of defamation against defendants Fuyao and Cho,” permitting the claim of defamation to go forward.
The judge also found Burrows’ claim and evidence of being a placeholder for a Chinese constituent until she was able to work in the United States, as sufficient.
“Discovery may well reveal direct evidence of discrimination, or details of a situation of background circumstances sufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment,” Rose stated.
A pre-trial hearing has been set for January 25, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
Burrows seeks $441,908 and additional punitive damages, attorney and court fees.