Gambro Germany (defendant) manufactured kidney dialysis equipment that was distributed in the United States by its Illinois-based affiliate, Gambro, Inc. (Gambro) (defendant). The kidney dialyzers sold in the United States were regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Roger Balla (plaintiff) served as Gambro’s in-house counsel and manager of regulatory affairs. After learning that Gambro Germany shipped dialyzers that did not comply with FDA regulations Balla advised Gambro’s president to reject the shipment. The president refused and later fired Balla. Balla reported the defective shipment to the FDA which began an investigation into Gambro’s practices. Balla filed a retaliatory discharge action against Gambro and Gambro Germany (defendants). The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Balla appealed. The Illinois appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court granted certiorari.