Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
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Judge won’t dismiss false imprisonment claim against Koch brother

A former employee of a mining company who is accusing the head of the company of forcibly holding him at the president’s compound will have his day in court after the federal judge hearing the case declined the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The defendant in the case, William Koch, is a member of the Koch family of businesspeople and political contributors. He says that the litigation is in retaliation for a fraud suit his company, Oxbow Carbon & Minerals, filed against the plaintiff previously. Koch denies participating in any kidnapping scheme.

However, the judge denied his motion to dismiss. She found that there is enough evidence to support the plaintiff’s contention that Koch directed the plaintiff to be falsely imprisoned for a period of time to warrant going to trial.

The plaintiff was formerly an executive at Oxbow Carbon & Minerals LLC, which is the largest exporter of petroleum coke in the world. He says in court documents that he discovered that company executives were planning to avoid having some of Oxford’s profits be taxed. After that discovery, the plaintiff says, Oxford employees took him to a ranch in Colorado owned by Koch. There they interrogated and fired him, he says. They also served him notice of litigation Oxford had filed against him over a fraud scheme he was allegedly involved in.

The status of that lawsuit is not mentioned in a news report about the false imprisonment case.

While this employee dispute is perhaps more extreme than most, legal claims between employers and employees can be a major problem for businesses if they do not have proper legal guidance.

Source: Bloomberg, “William Koch Must Face False Imprisonment Suit: Judge,” Joel Rosenblatt & Karen Gullo, April 30, 2013

John P. Aldrich
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