Fuyao founder moves to dismiss Burrows’ lawsuit

Cho Tak Wong, chairman of Fuyao Global, at the official opening of the Fuyao Glass America plant in Moraine last October. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

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Cho Tak Wong, chairman of Fuyao Global, at the official opening of the Fuyao Glass America plant in Moraine last October. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

The founder of Fuyao Glass America is arguing in response to a lawsuit from one of his former executives that he hasn’t even been properly served with the suit.

Responses from that former executive are due next week to Fuyao’s motions to dismiss that executive’s suit.

Cho Tak Wong, founder of Chinese auto glass maker Fuyao Global and its Moraine-based American arm, Fuyao Glass America, has moved to “quash and to dismiss” a lawsuit filed by Dave Burrows, a former Fuyao vice president, in part because the summons and complaint in the suit were not translated into Chinese, “as required” by the Hague Convention, the motion says.

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Burrows is suing his former employer and its founder over his separation from the company last November, claiming fraud, breach of contract, defamation, discrimination and more.

Burrows and John Gauthier were two top executives at Fuyao when their employment there ended in November 2016.

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Gauthier is not part of Burrows’ lawsuit.

Fuyao’s response to the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, argues in part that Burrows has failed to make a case.

In his lawsuit, Burrows has argued that on Nov. 14, Cho called a meeting at Fuyao where he “falsely stated to those present that Burrows had resigned.”

Burrows maintains that he was fired that day “without cause and without written notice, and was not given any explanation, oral or written, for his termination.”

In its motion, Fuyao responded by saying that Burrows “has made no showing, beyond a blanket assertion, of actual malice associated with that part of the announcement he contends was false — i.e., the supposed announcement that he ‘resigned.’”

Added Fuyao: “His professed ‘ridicule, shame and disgrace’ obviously stemmed from the true fact that his employment was ending, the announcement of which is not actionable.”

Fuyao contends that even if there had been a public announcement that Burrows had resigned, “there can be nothing harmful or defamatory about such an announcement. If being branded with ‘resignation’ is offensive, one can imagine how this count of the complaint would read if FGA (Fuyao Glass America) had announced that he was involuntarily terminated, as plaintiff (Burrows) himself now (very publicly) insists was the case.”

Fuyao has moved that Burrows’ suit be dismissed, as has Cho.

For his part, Cho argues that he had not been properly served in accordance with “the mandatory terms of the Hague Convention.”

Cho lives in China and neither speaks nor reads English, his motion says.

“A court may not exercise jurisdiction over a party named as a defendant if that party has not been properly served with process,” Cho’s motion says.

Burrows has declined to comment on the lawsuit; a message seeking comment was left with his attorney. Fuyao spokespeople have called his lawsuit ‘meritless.’

Cho purchased a former General Motors plant in Moraine in 2014, creating since then what the company says is the world’s largest auto glass manufacturing plant, with about 2,000 workers.

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