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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:David Morales was a part-time employee at SimuFlite Training International, an aviation training facility for pilots, crew members and maintenance technicians. In October 1999, Morales’ Federal Aviation Administration instructor certification expired. Though Morales repeatedly asked SimuFlite to give him the training necessary to renew his certification, he never received the necessary flight time. Knowing that Morales’ certification had expired, SimuFlite flagged Morales in the computer system as someone who would not teach certain classes related to his lapsed certification. Nonetheless, in March 2000, Morales was scheduled to provide training in an area he was not longer certified for. Morales told his supervisor, Dennis Sherman, of the conflict, but Sherman told him to allow the pilots to train anyway, but just not to sign off on their training. Sherman, instead, signed off on the training, without Morales’ knowledge. On April 18, 2000, the FAA notified SimuFlite of an investigation into training given by Morales. SimuFlite launched its own investigation, which revealed that Sherman had signed for training given by Morales. Sherman asked Morales to sign a blank flight report form, but Morales refused, fearing it would be used to thwart the investigation. Sherman asked again, as did another supervisor, but Morales again refused. Sherman resigned in lieu of being fired. Morales was terminated on May 5, 2000, the same day SimuFlite responded to the FAA to confirm the training discrepancies. The problems were due to two rogue employees and the problem had been corrected, SimuFlite explained. The FAA responded that the Morales’ and Sherman’s FAA instructor certificates had to be revoked. Morales filed suit against SimuFlite, claiming that he was fired for not signing the blank flight report. Had he done so, Morales contended, he could have been subject to criminal penalty. The trial court granted SimuFlite’s motion for summary judgment, and Morales appeals. He argues that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether he was asked to perform an illegal act, and whether his refusal to perform that act was the sole reason for his termination. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court explains that even an at-will employee can bring suit for wrongful termination if that employee was forced to choose between risking criminal liability or being discharged. A person is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. A�1001 from knowingly and willfully making or using any false writing or document knowing that it contains materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or entries to the FAA. Here, Morales believed that the blank flight report he was being asked to sign was going to be used for fraudulent purposes, which would ultimately subject him to criminal penalties. SimuFlite, on the other hand, argues that if the document were to be falsified, it would have been after Morales signed it, so he would not be subject to criminal liability. The court agrees with Morales, noting that Morales could have been charged, at the very least, with aiding and abetting the falsification of the flight report, regardless of whether he knew what others would write on it or whether it would be presented to the FAA. Further, �1001 does not require that a document actually be submitted to the FAA, only that it have a natural tendency to influence, be capable of influencing or be utilized by the agency. The court also finds more than a scintilla of evidence that Morales’ failure to sign the report was the sole reason for his termination. SimuFlite told him that it needed a way to “get him off the hook,” and asked him many times to sign the report. There was also evidence that SimuFlite told Morales that his refusal would lead to his termination. Plus, the same day Morales was terminated, SimuFlite admitted to the FAA that the flight training documents had been falsified and later informed the FAA that it had taken care of the problem by getting rid of Sherman and Morales. OPINION:Dauphinot, J.; Livingston, Dauphinot, and Holman, JJ.

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