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Employee who swapped fine print can't beat insurer in bias case

Posted On: Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 AM CST

If you are going to claim that your employment contract with your former employer includes a mandatory arbitration clause, then it's probably wise to be sure that clause was not introduced until two years after you had signed the contract.

That's one of the lessons to be learned in the case of Neal D. Secrease Jr., who had sued his former employer, Cincinnati-based Western & Southern Life Insurance Co, claiming unlawful age and sex discrimination and retaliation.

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Among other problems with Mr. Secrease's lawsuit, according to a ruling in the case by 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, was that Mr. Secrease had furnished the first and last pages of his employment contract, both of which he signed in October 2006.

But the remaining interior pages of Mr. Secrease's submission, containing an arbitration clause, were from an employment contract the company did not use until 2008.

The U.S. District Court in Indianapolis had initially dismissed the suit with prejudice, concluding Mr. Secrease had tried to deceive the court. The judge also did not believe his claims that he had combined the pages by accident, or that he had called the court to try to fix his error.

A three-judge appeals court panel unanimously agreed with the lower court's ruling. “Falsifying evidence to secure a court victory undermines the most basic foundations of our judicial system,” said the panel.