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Warren v. Tri Tech Laboratories, Inc.

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

November 22, 2013

DAVID WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
TRI TECH LABORATORIES, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NORMAN K. MOON, District Judge.

The pro se Plaintiff filed this action claiming race-based discriminatory treatment in employment and wrongful dismissal in violation of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After Defendant filed its answer, but before discovery had commenced, Plaintiff sought partial summary judgment, arguing that there was no genuine dispute of material fact that he, as an African-American male, received treatment disparate from white employees. I conducted a hearing on May 9, 2013, and on May 15, 2013, I issued a memorandum opinion and order denying Plaintiff's motion. I also denied Plaintiff's motion to strike Defendant's affirmative defenses and answers.

Soon thereafter, Plaintiff filed a "Motion to Strike the Affidavit of Steve Fullerton, President of Tri Tech Laboratories, Inc." (the "Fullerton affidavit, " or the "affidavit"). As discussed herein, the motion is without merit, and must be denied.

I.

In support of its opposition to Plaintiff's motion, Defendant filed the "Affidavit of Steven Fullerton, " the president of Tri Tech Laboratories, Inc. since October 2007. The affidavit is quoted here in pertinent part (paragraph numbering omitted):

David Warren was employed as the Technical Director of Quality Assurance up until the time of his termination in May 2010.
The Technical Director of Quality Assurance is ultimately accountable for issues of product quality and customer dissatisfaction.
During Warren's tenure, Tri Tech received multiple complaints about Warren's performance, both internally as well as from Tri Tech's customers. Two events, in particular, led to Tri Tech's decision to terminate Warren's employment.
Warren, as the Technical Director of Quality Assurance, was assigned to lead an investigation into an FDA-regulated drug product that had incorrect labels on them. The investigation dragged on to such an extent that the customer in question would call daily inquiring as to when the product would ship.
Following a visual inspection of all products, Warren recommended that the products be shipped out. Importantly, even one mislabeled unit could trigger a recall. Doubtful of the accuracy of a visual inspection, Mark Hallett ("Hallett"), Senior Director of Quality, ordered an electronic re-inspection of the products, which uncovered 2, 268 additional units with the wrong back label on them.
The investigation was assigned to and spearheaded solely by Warren, by virtue of his position at the Company. Warren's choice to disregard recognized laboratory procedures and instead incorporate visual inspection of the product labels directly resulted in the drawn-out and ultimately unsuccessful management of the quality issue in question.
The second major event behind Warren's termination involved an olfactory issue that affected several hundred thousand units from Tri Tech's largest client. Tri Tech and the client conducted a joint investigation, and Warren, as Technical Director, was once again asked to lead the investigation on behalf of Tri Tech.
During his investigation, Warren pursued a single theory of what had created the off-odor, and conducted testing in an attempt to discover the root cause. Ultimately, his single cause theory of the off-odor was proven wrong.
During his investigation, Warren failed to record his data, did not communicate his plans or the results adequately internally or with the client, and otherwise failed to conduct his investigation in compliance with good laboratory practice; something he should have been and claimed to have been familiar with. In fact, Warren's failure to communicate with the client resulted in the client flying two of its investigation teams, at substantial ...

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