Case Caption: Ronnie Rennie v. Hess Oil Virgin Islands CorpCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2014-0028Date: 02/06/2015Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In litigation concerning a former employee's claims of unlawful discrimination in employment brought pursuant to the federal Civil Rights Act, several Virgin Islands statutes, and Virgin Islands common law, the Superior Court erred when it dismissed the complaint on statute of limitations grounds when the employer had waived its statute of limitations defense by failing to plead it in its answer. In addition, the Virgin Islands Wrongful Discharge Act and the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Act establish liabilities independent of the common law and are governed by the six-year limitations period of 5 V.I.C. § 31(3)(B), and not the two-year period prescribed in § 31(5)(A). Construing and applying 24 V.I.C. § 76, the employee sufficiently pled a cause of action under the Virgin Islands Wrongful Discharge Act based on a demotion from his former position. In addition, construing and applying 10 V.I.C. § 3, the employee also pled a valid claim for violation of the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Act based on the employer's conduct, and the Legislature authorized a private cause of action for violations of 24 V.I.C. § 451 which can be premised on such conduct. The Superior Court's April 5, 2014 opinion and order granting the employer's motion to dismiss is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion