“Gotcha Moment” Backfires on Lawyer

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/10/2021
I watched Perry Mason (played by Raymond Burr from 1957 to 1966) as a kid.  More about why that’s relevant in a bit.  If you have watched any TV courtroom drama – Matlock (played by Andy Griffith from 1986-1995) works if you were too young to watch Perry Mason – you know the drill:  the defense attorney represents falsely accused people and he manages to prove that by drawing out the real criminal on the witness stand, usually...
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Deceased Employee Lacks Standing to Sue for Discrimination

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
12/09/2019
The Fourth Circuit recently upheld a decision denying relief to a deceased KFC employee whose lawsuit was filed two days after his death.  House v. Mitra QSR KNE LLC, No. 18-1779 (4th Cir. 12/3/19) (unpublished). House worked as a General Manager for KFC in Baltimore when he told his supervisor he suffered from alcoholism and was seeking treatment in a rehab program.  When he returned from rehab, he discovered he had been fired.  He...
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Firing Employee for Refusal to Get Out of Jury Duty Gives Rise to Wrongful Discharge Clam

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
10/28/2019
People sometimes gripe about having to show up for jury duty.  But as an employer, in many states at least, firing an employee for refusing to lie to get out of his jury duty is not the way to go about handling it, as demonstrated by a recent case out of the Fifth Circuit.  Simmons v. Pacific Bells, L.L.C., No. 19-60001 (5th Cir. 9/27/19) (unpublished). Simmons worked for Taco Bell in Mississippi as a manager along with the restaurant’s...
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When is Enough Harassment Investigation Enough?

Over my career, I have dealt with my share of “you can’t make this up” situations.  The kind where outrageously offensive or harassing workplace behavior has occurred, and the employer needs to – and wants to – figure out who did it and take steps to stop it from happening again. Indeed, that’s one of the benefits of representing management:  you can have the chance to assist in helping change culture (even if that “culture” appears...
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Ooh, It Makes Me Wonder… It Really Makes Me Wonder.

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
04/19/2016
This is a law-related blog, honest.  But first a story.   When I was in ninth grade our English teacher asked each student to pick a song where the lyrics REALLY meant something to us, and recite those lyrics in front of the class.  Coming from a home where my mother often listened to Broadway musicals, I picked You’ll Never Walk Alone from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel. I had the great misfortune to be picked to recite those lyrics...
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State Court Loss Bars Federal Court Claims

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/16/2016
Most lawyers are familiar with the concepts of res judicata and collateral estoppel.  While infrequently litigated (due, in part, to the significant costs of taking many business cases through trial), occasions do arise where litigants sometimes try their hand in a second forum.  This may be done because the litigants feel that another forum may be more advantageous, additional discovery would be available, or for a host of other reasons. ...
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Federal Courts Considering Revisions to Electronic Discovery Rules

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
01/21/2014
As any employer who has been through a federal court lawsuit can attest, litigation costs make the defense of employment lawsuits a costly proposition. In many cases, the costs of defense are greater than the potential recovery if the employee wins the case. Perhaps the biggest driver  of litigation costs is what has become known as "electronic discovery" or "e-discovery."  This is the process of  preserving, reviewing,  and disclosing emails...
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Recording Supervisor's Racially Offensive Remarks Leads to Reduced Jury Verdict

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
01/15/2014
Baiting your supervisor to make racially offensive comments while secretly recording the conversation might seem like a great way to score a big settlement out of your employer.  However, that strategy can prove to be something of a double-edged sword -- at least  in the eyes of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Johnson v. STRIVE E. Harlem Emp’t Grp., No. 1:12-cv-04460 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 2, 2014). Rob...
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Fourth Circuit Limits Scope of EEOC Charge

Under Title VII, an employee suing for discrimination or retaliation must first file an administrative charge of discrimination with the EEOC or a state or local fair employment practices agency.  The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the employer is put on notice of the allegations, and that the administrative agency is given a chance to investigate, before an employee pursues the case in court.  Because of this requirement, one issue...
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Maryland Court Dismisses ADAAA Claim Brought By Cop Who Can’t Run Fast

A federal court in Maryland dismissed a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a police officer trainee who needed more than 17 minutes to run a mile and a half. LaPier v. Prince Georges County, No. 8:10-cv-02851 (2/7/13).  Rejecting the officer’s requests for a permanent light duty assignment or modification of the police department’s fitness standards, the Court held  that it was not unreasonable to require police officers to be able to...
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