Washington — A federal judge has referred the Plastics Industry Association and its former CEO, Tony Radoszewski, to mediation to try to resolve the remaining legal claims over his firing in 2022, after putting on hold a request by Radoszewski to file a revised version of his allegations.
In an Aug. 24 order, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sent the case to be mediated by a magistrate judge in federal court in Washington, D.C., and halted decisions on Radoszewski's new motions while settlement talks are ongoing.
Jackson's order to refer the case to mediation was somewhat expected, after the judge in July dismissed most of the lawsuits the two sides had filed against each other and urged them to instead seek mediation.
At the time, she told them that based on evidence presented thus far, neither side would come out of a trial "looking good" and said discovery and a trial could be costly compared to the money involved in a settlement.
Prior to Jackson's Aug. 24 order, Radoszewski had petitioned the court on Aug. 17 to allow him to refile his claim challenging his firing and alleging that he was owed $546,000, or one year of his salary, at the time of his 2022 dismissal.
He also told the court he was still owed $26,250 in other unpaid salary, and, if he was not entitled to one year's salary for being fired without cause, he was owed $91,000 in severance, the equivalent of two months of pay.
In her Aug. 24 order, Jackson sent the case to U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey and told the parties to give her a status report by Nov. 23, the closing date she set for mediation, or sooner if they settle.
She noted that both parties formally requested mediation in an Aug. 23 telephone hearing.
In an Aug. 25 mediation order, Harvey told both sides to provide possible dates for mediation and told each of them to file a confidential report with a settlement offer and a candid assessment of the claims raised.
The association said it fired Radoszewski in March 2022 because he failed to relocate from his home in Texas to the group's headquarters in Washington, and that caused staff retention and morale problems as well as loss of faith in Radoszewski by board members and staff.
It also had countersued Radoszewski for $163,000, alleging that shortly after he started in 2019, he requested and received at least $135,000 to cover upcoming moving costs but had not relocated.
But Radoszewski argued that the COVID-19 pandemic complicated his permanent relocation, that he had moved to a Washington apartment briefly before returning to Texas in the pandemic, and that he was prepared to move to the D.C. area.
He also argued that he had received positive job reviews and that his employment agreement did not specifically require him to relocate.