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Court of Appeals of Kentucky
August 18, 2017, Rendered
NO. 2016-CA-000055-MR AND NO. 2016-CA-000062-MR
LAMBERT, J., JUDGE: These appeals arise from an action in which Carol Greissman alleged she was wrongfully terminated by her employer, Rawlings and Associates, PLLC, (Rawlings) when she refused to sign a Confidentiality and No Solicitation Agreement (the Agreement) that she believed was prohibited by the Kentucky Bar Association Ethics Rules, specifically Rules of the Supreme Court (SCR) 3.130 (5.6) (Rule 5.6). Greissman appeals from the Oldham Circuit Court's order denying her motion for partial summary judgment, granting Rawlings' motion for summary judgment, and dismissing her complaint, based on its holding that the Agreement did not violate Kentucky's Rules of Professional Conduct. Rawlings cross-appeals from an earlier order denying its motion to dismiss, in [*2] which the circuit court held that a Supreme Court Rule, when obligatory, supports a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. We agree with Rawlings that the circuit court erred as a matter of law in denying the motion to dismiss, mooting Greissman's appeal from the final judgment. Because the circuit court ultimately dismissed Greissman's complaint in granting summary judgment, we affirm.
Greissman is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Rawlings is a law firm that practices in the areas of health care subrogation. Greissman worked for Rawlings as a subrogation analyst from June 1997 through September 21, 2011, when she was terminated. Prior to her termination, Rawlings presented Greissman and its other employees with an Agreement that included a covenant not to solicit, contact, interfere with, or attempt to divert any of Rawlings' customers or potential customers after leaving Rawlings' employment. Failure to sign the Agreement would result in termination of employment. The Agreement provided in relevant part as follows:
Non-Solicitation. Except to the extent necessary to comply with rules of professional responsibility applicable to attorneys, [*3] I agree that for as long as I am employed and for three (3) years following termination of my employment, for any reason, I will not, without the prior written consent of Rawlings: (i) solicit, contact, interfere with, or attempt to divert any customer served by Rawlings, or any potential customer (defined as a prospective customer who was solicited by Rawlings within 5 years); or (ii) solicit any person then or previously employed by Rawlings to join me, whether as a partner, agent, employee, or otherwise, in any enterprise engaged in a business that competes with business engaged in by Rawlings at the time my employment ceases.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2017 Ky. App. LEXIS 451 *; 2017 WL 3567838
CAROL GREISSMAN, APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE v. RAWLINGS AND ASSOCIATES, PLLC, APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT
Notice: PLEASE REFER TO THE KENTUCKY RULES REGARDING FINALITY OF OPINIONS.
TO BE PUBLISHED. [UNLESS OTHERWISE ORDERED BY THE KENTUCKY SUPREME COURT, OPINIONS DESIGNATED "TO BE PUBLISHED" BY THE COURT OF APPEALS ARE NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IF DISCRETIONARY REVIEW IS PENDING, IF DISCRETIONARY REVIEW IS GRANTED, OR IF ORDERED NOT TO BE PUBLISHED BY THE COURT WHEN DENYING THE MOTION FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW OR GRANTING WITHDRAWAL OF THE MOTION.]
Subsequent History: Review granted by Greissman v. Rawlings & Assocs., PLLC, 2018 Ky. LEXIS 229 (Ky., June 6, 2018)
affirmed on other grounds by Greissman v. Rawlings & Assocs., PLLC, 2019 Ky. LEXIS 140 (Ky., Apr. 18, 2019)
Prior History: [*1] APPEAL AND CROSS-APPEAL FROM OLDHAM CIRCUIT COURT. HONORABLE KAREN A. CONRAD, JUDGE. ACTION NO. 12-CI-00744.
public policy, circuit court, court rule, termination, summary judgment, motion to dismiss, statutory provisions, wrongful termination, wrongful discharge, obligatory, customer, wrongful termination claim, violate public policy, matter of law, terminable-at-will, solicit, argues, public policy exception, regulation, appeals, savings
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Labor & Employment Law, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment, General Overview, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy