Sometimes a simple wrongful termination case can garner national attention, cause international investigations, result in criminal indictments, become the subject of several books, and spawn front page Wall Street Journal articles.
Our client, Ed Russell, was a Vice President in charge of General Electric’s industrial diamond division. After the DeBeers diamond cartel, General Electric is the next largest producer of industrial diamonds in the world. Man made diamonds compete with those dug out of mines in Africa and Russia and are essential to making the cutting tools needed to process today’s high strength materials.
Mr. Russell uncovered a plot by General Electric to meet with DeBeers executives in London and Johannesburg to fix the world wide price of industrial diamonds.
As a result of his opposition, Mr. Russell was fired.
His wrongful termination case was successfully prosecuted and eventually settled on the eve of trial for an amount satisfactory to Mr. Russell which General Electric still insists be kept confidential. Mr. Russell’s case offered a rare glimpse into the highest levels of management in corporate America. It has become the subject of MBA text books, the front page of the Wall Street Journal, as well as a popular business biography: Thomas F. O’Boyle, At Any Cost: Jack Welch, General Electric, and the Pursuit of Profit, Chapter 13, Diamonds and Dirt (Alfred A. Knopf 1998).