FINANCIAL ANALYSIS OF WRONGFUL
TERMINATION: JOSEPH KIDWELL
M. Douglas Berg, Sam Houston State University
Robert Stretcher, Sam Houston State University
The primary subject matter of this case concerns the valuation of economic damages
incurred by Mr. Joseph Kidwell upon his wrongful termination from Gilad Lexus of Billings,
Montana. A secondary issue examined involves brand specific knowledge which is not transferable
to the selling of other automobiles. The course has a difficulty level appropriate for the advanced
undergraduate or first year masters students, practicing HR managers or those seeking to become
forensic economists. The case is designed to be taught in one and a half class hours and is expected
to require two hours of outside preparation by students.
Joseph Kidwell, a talented sales manager for a Lexus dealership, was terminated for refusing
to call the police and report a car as being stolen. It was later found that an employee had borrowed
the car without permission, but Joseph had already been terminated. Joseph brought a lawsuit
against the dealership for wrongful termination, the details of which are presented in this case. The
reader is tasked with analyzing the economic loss suffered by Joseph due to the termination.
Joseph Kidwell grew up in Billings, Montana. He graduated from the local high school in
1998 and went to work for Gilad Lexus in October of the same year. Joseph enjoyed his job selling
cars. He had a real fascination with the Lexus brand of automobiles and spent hours each day
improving his stock of knowledge about the cars.
Two years after starting his job with Gilad Lexus, Joseph marr