Today at the Court of Appeals (3/10/11)
Meehan v. American Media International, LLC - Dr. Brian Meehan is one of an extensive list of individuals who were negatively impacted by their association with what has become known as the Duke Lacrosse Case. During the relevant time period Meehan served as the Executive Director of DSI, a company that engaged in DNA testing.
In the spring of 2006, the Durham Police Department contacted DSI to conduct DNA testing related to the Duke Lacrosse Case. Meehan contends that after DSI completed DNA testing on 46 cheek swabbings taken from members of the Duke Lacrosse team, he informed the Durham County District Attorney and several law enforcement officer that there were no incriminating matches between the samples and the specimens taken from the victim. Meehan also allegedly informed the District Attorney and law enforcement that he discovered traces of DNA from other unidentified males on the alleged victim's undergarments.
DSI subsequently issued a written report regarding the results of its testing. A dispute subsequently arose in the criminal proceeding over whether DSI's report fully and accurately disclosed the results of its testing. The lawyers for the Duke Lacrosse Players accused DSI of conspiring with the District Attorney to withhold exculpatory evidence. Meehan agreed to testify in court regarding the testing and the report. When he was placed on the stand, Meehan was questioned exclusively by the defense attorneys because the District Attorney declined to ask any questions. Meehan also appeared on 60 Minutes - although the circumstances surrounding Meehan's appearance are in question. The controversy over the testing and the report led to substantial negative publicity for DSI.
DSI subsequently terminated Meehan. Meehan's termination letter cited "poor communications" in his "failure to adequately explain DSI's role in [the Duke Lacrosse Case] to the public and to the lacrosse families during the multiple times [he has] testified." Meehan contends that these reasons for his termination were merely a pretext for dismissing him prior to the date Meehan was owed a "milestone payment" from DSI.
Meehan sued DSI and raised claims of breach of contract, breach of a covenant of good faith and fair dealing, a violation of North Carolina's wage and hour act, conspiracy to engage in wrongful conduct, and tortuous interference with contract. After conducting discovery, the Defendants moved for summary judgment and Meehan moved for partial summary judgment. The Court denied Meehan's motion and granted the Defendants' motion.
On appeal Meehan argues that the trial court erred by granting summary judgment for the Defendants due to the existence of genuine issues of material fact.
Briefs and Other Documents:
Record on Appeal (Part 1)
Record on Appeal (Part 2)
Record on Appeal (Part 3)
Record on Appeal (Part 4)
Labels: Oral Argument Preview