DerKevorkian v. Lionbridge Technologies. A case with possible implications for employers who sponsor green cards has just been ruled on by the 10th circuit court of appeals.  DerKevorkian (the foreign national) argued that her employer (Lionbridge) violated its fiduciary duty to her.  She argued that Lionbridge took complete control of the green card process and then mishandled it such that the result was that she did not obtain her green card.  The crux of the problem was a that the PWD came back at nearly twice what her salary was at the time and Lionbridge refused to go forward with the green card case.

The district court judge sided with DerKevorkian concluding that a fiduciary duty was created when DerKevorkian’s long term employer agreed to sponsor her for the green card process and then violated that duty when it was mismanaged and subsequently abandoned.  the district court jury awarded DerKevorkian hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

the 10th circuit remanded and now DerKevorkian may lose all of those damages.  Interestingly, the 10th circuit concluded that DerKevorkian had a duty to mitigate.   In the context of this case that means that when Lionbridge offered her a different job (essentially a demotion), with a wage more in line with what they were paying her, she failed to mitigate when she refused it.  The 10th circuit further stated that DerKevorkian’s ultimate goal was the green card and not to work permanently in the job she held at the time.  So if an opportunity to continue on the green card pathpresented itself, even though it was via a different job, her duty to mitigate required she take it.

for more background on the case history leading up to the district court ruling.

Posted by John Rotterman