Fuyao Glass America operates in a former General Motors Moraine Assembly Plant. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Judge: Former exec’s claims ‘plausible’ in suit against Fuyao

Days after denying motions from Fuyao Glass America and Fuyao founder Cho Tak Wong to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by a former Fuyao executive, a federal judge has scheduled a pre-trial conference in the suit.

In denying the motions to dismiss, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose wrote that he found at least some of the claims from former Fuyao executive Dave Burrows “plausible.”

Burrows filed suit against Fuyao and Cho in May this year, alleging breach of contract, defamation and other charges tied to his separation from the company in November 2016.

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Burrows and John Gauthier were the two top executives at Fuyao when their employment there ended in November 2016. Gauthier is not part of Burrows’ lawsuit.

Burrows argues that Fuyao convinced him to sell his Cold Stone Creamery franchise and leave a position as an executive with the Dayton Development Coalition “over Burrows’ repeated protestations,” Rose wrote in his decision, which was filed in Dayton’s federal court last week.

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Burrows also “claims to have justifiably relied upon Cho and Fuyao’s representation of continued employment and compensation through 2017” as outlined in an employment contract with Fuyao. And Burrows charges that he was terminated without cause or notice.

“The court finds plaintiff Burrows’ claims plausible, thus defendants’ motions to dismiss are denied,” Rose wrote.

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The judge also called the employment contract’s language was “clear and unambiguous as it pertains” to how much Burrows was supposed to get paid — “annual compensation minimum is guaranteed at $278,000.”

“This clear and unambiguous language also shows that the compensation amount as guaranteed through 2017 and pro-rated for 2015,” wrote Rose.

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The judge also said Burrows has “sufficiently pleaded the necessary elements of defamation against defendants Fuyao and Cho.”

A pre-trial conference in the suit is set for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 25, 2018.

Rose considered motions from both defendants, auto glass maker Fuyao Glass America, which has about 2,000 employees in Moraine, and Cho, a Chinese industrialist who bought a former General Motors plant in 2014 to build the company.

Messages seeking comment were left for Burrows’ attorney. An attorney representing Fuyao Glass America said he was not authorized to comment, and a spokeswoman for Fuyao declined to comment.

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