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Related post: Court of Appeals in Washington, 718 A.2d 1071.
In Washington, a cafeteria employee alleged that she was
discharged in retaliation for following the District of Colum-
bia health laws. After Washington, a cook in a retirement
home, told a fellow worker to stop spraying poisonous clean-
ing fluid next to uncovered food, she alleged that the manager
told her he had ordered the employee to clean the area, and
for her to tell the employee otherwise constituted insubordi-
nation. See id. at 1072. Because the conduct at issue had
occurred prior to Carl, the court had to decide whether Carl
would be retroactive. In concluding that it would, the court
applied Mendes v. Johnson, 389 A.2d 781 (D.C. 1978) (en
banc), pretermitting a determination of whether Mendes was
implicitly overruled by the Supreme Court in James B. Beam
Distilling Co. v. Georgia, 501 U.S. 529 (1991), and Harper v.
Virginia Department of Taxation, 509 U.S. 86 (1993). Under
Mendes, the court considers four factors in determining
whether to apply a new civil rule retroactively: the extent of
the parties' reliance on the old precedent, the avoidance of
altering vested contract or property rights, the desire to
reward plaintiffs seeking to initiate just changes in the law,
and the fear of burdening the administration of justice by
disturbing decisions reached under the overruled precedent.
389 A.2d at 789.
In Washington, the court concluded that the employer's
stated reason for firing Washington belied any notion of
actual reliance on the narrow public policy exception an-
nounced in Adams, and that in general, neither employers
nor the public could reasonably have relied on the Adams
standard because the court had never explicitly held that
there was only one narrow public policy exception. 718 A.2d
at 1076-77. The court took note of the expanded public
policy exception in other jurisdictions6 and supervening Su-
preme Court decisions on the retroactivity of new civil rules
in Beam Distilling, 501 U.S. 529, and Harper, 509 U.S. 86,
and concluded that it gave employers fair warning of the
retroactive application of any expansion of the public policy
exception. Washington, 718 A.2d at 1078. The employer
cited no authority for a vested right to discharge an at-will
employee, and the court was unpersuaded that an employer's
6 See id. at 1079 (citing Bernstein v. Aetna Life & Cas., 843
F.2d 359, 363-64 (9th Cir. 1988) (applying Arizona law); Newman v.
Emerson Radio Corp., 772 P.2d 1059, 1062-72 (Ca. 1989); Martin
Marietta Corp. v. Lorenz, 823 P.2d 100, 110-14 (Colo. 1992); McGe-
hee v. Florafax Int'l , 776 P.2d 852, 853-54 (Okla. 1989)); id. at 1077
(citing 82 Am. Jur. 2d on Wrongful Discharge s 15, at 688 (1992),
noting that courts generally protect three categories of protected
employee conduct: (1) exercising a statutory right or civil obli-
gation, (2) refusing to engage in illegal activity, and (3) reporting
criminal conduct to supervisors or outside agencies)).
expectation that the public policy exception would remain
limited, as announced in Adams, created such a right. See id.
Noting that Washington had not brought her lawsuit to effect
a change in the law, the third Mendes factor did not weigh in
her favor. On the other hand, the court rejected the notion
that applying Carl retroactively would result in a plethora of
wrongful discharge lawsuits. Id. at 1079.
Melville's contentions that Carl should not apply to Libera-
tore's case are unpersuasive. As in Washington, the employ-
er's stated reason for firing was Liberatore's lapsed license,
thereby belying actual reliance on the narrower public policy
exception announced in Adams. 718 A.2d at 1076. The D.C.
Court of Appeals in Washington rejected the argument that
Carl broke completely new ground and was not foreshadowed
by any prior holdings. Id. at 1077-78. Any reliance on the
old at-will employment doctrine fails the reasonable reliance
test, the D.C. Court of Appeals concluded, in light of Adams,
the law in other jurisdictions, and the supervening Supreme
Court decisions on retroactivity. Id. To no more avail Rizatriptan Benzoate is a
contention based on the burden on the administration of
justice, for as the Washington court noted, there is nothing of
record to suggest that a substantial number of pending
appeals would be subject to being reopened. Id. at 1078-79.
Consequently, we conclude that the grant of summary
judgment for failure to state a cause of action within the
public policy exception must be reversed. Although there
was no agreement by the D.C. Court of Appeals in Carl about
the nature of the conduct that would qualify under its expand-
ed public policy exception, the separate views of the judges
indicate that "the effective holding of the en banc court," 702
A.2d at 197 n.2 (Steadman, J. dissenting), is that circum-
stances other than an employee's outright refusal to violate a
law constitute grounds for a public policy exception if "solidly
based on a statute or regulation that reflects the Buy Rizatriptan particular
public policy to be applied." Id. at 163; see also id. at 164 n.6
In his brief, Liberatore cites both federal and District of
Columbia law proscribing the improper storage of drugs.
The FDA regulations require the storage of drug products
under appropriate conditions of temperature, humidity, and
light so that the identity, strength, quality, and purity of the
drugs products are not affected. 21 C.F.R. s 211.142(b).
Failure to Rizatriptan 10mg comply results in adulterated drugs as defined by
Section 501 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C.
s 351, see 21 C.F.R. s 210.1(b), and the violator is subject to
a fine, imprisonment up to one year, or both. 21 C.F.R.
s 333(a)(1). Under D.C. Code s 2-2013(a) (1981), "[d]rugs
which may deteriorate shall at all times be stored under
conditions specified on the label of the original container and
in accordance with applicable District of Columbia or federal
laws or regulations."
The conduct that Liberatore claims resulted in his termi-
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