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Eastus v. Blue Bell Creameries, L.P.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
97 F.3d 100 (1996)


Facts

Greg Eastus (plaintiff) was employed as a salesperson for Blue Bell Creameries, L.P. (Blue Bell) (defendant) for more than 10 years. Despite a threat that he would be fired if he took vacation, Greg took time off when his wife Paige (plaintiff) gave birth. When Greg returned to work on August 1, he complained about the state of his company truck and equipment. Blue Bell fired Greg on August 5. When Greg applied for jobs thereafter, Blue Bell allegedly told such employers that Greg was difficult to work with and disloyal. The Eastuses sued Blue Bell in a Texas state court, alleging that its termination of Greg was a violation of § 105 of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2615(b), and constituted intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) under Texas law. The Eastuses further alleged that Blue Bell’s disparaging comments to potential future employers was retaliation for Greg’s complaints about his truck and equipment and that Blue Bell’s conduct constituted tortious interference with prospective contractual relations under Texas law. All parties were citizens of Texas. Blue Bell removed the case to federal court on the ground that the suit involved a federal question. The Eastuses moved to remand. The district court retained the FMLA claim but remanded both state law claims. Blue Bell appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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