DeGUELLE v. CAMILLI
MICHAEL J. DeGUELLE, Plaintiff,
KRISTIN J. CAMILLI, MARK H. ECKHARDT, GAYLE P. KOSTERMAN, ROBERT S. RANDLEMAN, DANIEL J. WENZEL, and S.C. JOHNSON & SON, INC., Defendants.
Case No. 10-CV-103-JPS.
United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin.
May 29, 2012.
Michael J DeGuelle, Plaintiff, represented by R Douglas Rees, Jenner & Block LLP.
J.P. STADTMUELLER, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. ("S.C. Johnson") and several of its employees, on March 1, 2012, after the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded the Court's prior dismissal of the action. (Docket #25). The action stems from the defendants' firing of the plaintiff, Michael DeGuelle, a former employee of S.C. Johnson's accounting department who publicly made allegations that S.C. Johnson had engaged in tax fraud. (Compl.) S.C. Johnson filed suit against DeGuelle in state court for defamation, and DeGuelle counterclaimed; after that case was decided—unfavorably for DeGuelle—the defendants moved for summary judgment based upon issue preclusion and claim preclusion principles. (Docket #38). With the benefit of the parties' submissions, together with the analysis which follows, the defendants' motion will be granted.
As mentioned above, this dispute stems from DeGuelle's allegations that S.C. Johnson engaged in tax fraud. (Compl.). After DeGuelle made that accusation, he was fired. (Compl.). This core set of facts—recounted in greater detail below—spawned two lawsuits, one in state court and one in federal court (the matter at hand). (See, e.g., DPFF ¶ 5). Further, DeGuelle has appealed the outcome of the state case, and the appeal is currently pending; the federal case was reversed by the Seventh Circuit on appeal and remanded to this Court following our prior dismissal of the action (Docket #11, #25). Given these multiple and complex strands of intertwining litigation, the Court will recount the factual background and other court proceedings that have occurred in considerable detail.
1.1 Factual Background
DeGuelle was employed by S.C. Johnson in its tax department from 1997 until 2009. (DPFF ¶ 4). DeGuelle alleges that, during his employment with S.C. Johnson, he witnessed a number of acts of tax fraud, dating back as far as 1998, which were approved by Robert Randleman and Daniel Wenzel. (PPFF ¶¶ 55-68).1 Finally, in late 2007 and early 2008, DeGuelle met with Kristin Camilli, S.C. Johnson's Director of Human Resources, and informed her of the alleged tax fraud and also that he had received threats from Wenzel as a result of objecting to the company's tax practices. (PPFF ¶¶ 69-72 (disputed)).