Labor & Employment

Paralegal Headed to Law School Takes $125K Job Instead, Is Fired and Sues

Thomas DeVore had a job with a title company, and his career was on the upswing. He was about to begin pursuing a law degree at Washburn University School of Law and had a job lined up as a paralegal, too, to help cover his costs there.

But the southern Illinois resident says he gave up both jobs and his law school slot in 2008 when a coal company offered him a better position at an annual salary of $125,000 for three years near his Bond County home. Four months later, he was fired. Now DeVore is suing over what he describes in the Madison County Circuit Court complaint he filed earlier this month as a misrepresented job offer, reports the Record.

The Colt Group and other defendants incorrectly described the job duties he would be performing, as well as the expected length of the position, he contends in the suit. Instead of hiring him to negotiate with landowners for coal rights in Bond and Madison counties, as he was told, “the defendants knew, but intentionally concealed from DeVore that the material purpose of hiring DeVore would be to use his personal relationships to influence the Bond County Board” to sell county coal rights to Colt, the complaint alleges.

“Defendants never intended that DeVore’s employment would continue if the purchase of coal rights from Bond County was rejected and knew that DeVore’s continued employment would hinge on the approval of such transaction, which condition was never disclosed to DeVore at any point prior to his hiring,” the lawsuit continues. The Bond County Board rejected Colt’s purchase proposal in July 2008.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

The article doesn’t include any comment from the defendants or their counsel.

DeVore is represented by Kevin Hazlett and Keith Short of Hazlett and Short in Shiloh, Ill.

Updated at 5:42 p.m. to indicate that DeVore had been accepted at Washburn University School of Law.

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