President's weekly report — September 18, 2015

September 18, 2015 | By ROB RIVETT

Tort reform — Washington State clouds employment law

The Washington Supreme Court issued a trio of decisions expanding exceptions to “at-will” employment, essentially making the tort of wrongful discharge available even in cases where perfectly adequate statutory remedies exist to remedy allegedly nefarious employer conduct.  PLF filed amicus briefs  here and here in two of the cases, Rose v. Anderson Hay and Grain (involving allegations of requiring excessive driving time in violation of federal law where a federal remedy was available) and Rickman v. Premera Blue Cross (involving a discharge for alleged violations of company rules but where the employee had informally complained about some post-merger procedures that were never adopted.)  As our blog post explains, these decisions will make the doctrine of at-will employment less relevant in Washington State, to the detriment of both employers and employees.

Endangered Species — K-Rat petition denied

The United States Fish & Wildlife Service denied our petition to delist the Kangaroo Rat despite new evidence that the listing is unwarranted.  As noted here, we had sued the service earlier this month over its failure to timely respond to our petition. We are considering what our next steps should be.