William Hanson sued his former employer, 1 Foot 2 Foot and its owner/supervisor, Dr. Matthew C. Dairman, for wrongful discharge. Hanson’s theory of recovery was retaliatory discharge against public policy, first recognized in Bowman v. State Bank of Keysville, 229 Va. 534 (1985). Hanson claimed that Dairman fired him because Hanson would not allow his wife to have a sexual relationship with Dairman. Hanson’s wife testified that Dairman made sexual advances towards her. She told Hanson, who later confronted Dairman. Hanson claimed that from that time, Dairman and 1 Foot 2 Foot began the process of terminating him including reducing his salary. Hanson argued that if he had allowed his wife to have sexual relations with Dairman, he would still be employed. Dairman denied making any sexual remarks to Hanson’s wife.
Hanson’s claim was based on his contention that if he had allowed his wife to have sex with Dairman, he would have been an accomplice to adultery (Dairman is also married) and would have been prostituting his wife by accepting something of value (a job) in exchange for sex.
The jury found in favor of Hanson against Dairman individually and awarded punitive damages in the amount of $6,713.48, but found the employer, 1Foot 2Foot, not liable.
There were two other actions decided by the jury.1 Foot 2 Foot sued Hanson for breach of contract, alleging that the company paid educational expenses for Hanson that he was required to reimburse because he had been terminated “for cause.” The jury found in 1 Foot 2 Foot’s favor ordering compensatory damages in the amount of $6,713.48. 1 Foot 2 Foot also sued Hanson for computer trespass, alleging that Hanson accessed company email without authority. The jury found for Hanson.
Technically, Hanson may be the defendant in this matter. 1 Foot 2 Foot sued Hanson for breach of contract in the Suffolk General District Court. Hanson prevailed and 1 Foot 2 Foot appealed. Hanson then sued 1 Foot 2 Foot and Dairman for wrongful discharge. 1 Foot 2 Foot then sued Hanson for computer trespass. The cases were consolidated with an agreement for 1 Foot 2 Foot to try its case first as plaintiff.[13-T-037]
Type of action: Wrongful discharge – public policy
Injuries alleged: Hanson claimed emotional injuries and loss of income; 1 Foot 2 Foot claimed $1,500 in damages for computer trespass and $6,713.48 for breach of contract
Name of case: Hanson v. Dairman
Court: Suffolk Circuit Court
Case no.: CL12322
Tried before: Judge
Judge: Robert W. Curran (retired)
Date: Feb. 20, 2013
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $6,713.48 in punitive damages
Attorney for plaintiff: Rick A. Friedman II, Chesterfield
Attorney for defendant: James R. Theuer, Norfolk