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When Is a Release Requirement Not a Release Requirement?

March 01, 2007

By Ethan Lipsig, Patrick Shea, Stephen Harris and Caroline Elkin

In a bizarre opinion issued on February 20, 2007, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court and awarded severance benefits to the plaintiff in Godleski v. FirstEnergy Corp., et al., even though he had not signed the release the employer thought was a precondition to the receipt of those benefits. Counsel for the company is considering filing a motion for reconsideration, meaning this decision may be short-lived. Until that happy day, employers need to pay attention to Godleski.