Safeshred, Inc. v. Martinez, III (Majority)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff brought a wrongful termination claim against his employer under Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck, seeking lost wages, mental anguish damages, and exemplary damages. This case required the court to clarify the nature and scope of the cause of action for wrongful termination of an employee for refusing to perform an illegal act that the court recognized in Sabine Pilot. At issue was whether a plaintiff in a Sabine Pilot action could recover punitive damages, and if so, what must be shown as to a prerequisite for those damages. The court agreed with the court of appeals' conclusion that a Sabine Pilot cause of action sounded in tort and allowed punitive damages upon proper proof. However, because the court held that plaintiff failed to present legally sufficient evidence of malice relating to his firing, the court reversed the court of appeals' judgment insofar as it affirmed the award of exemplary damages.