Case of the Week - End of the Year Update
I have now been writing this writing this weekly column for six months. As we begin a new year, I thought it would be a good time to catch up on some of the really interesting cases that I have written about. I am interested to hear from my readers if you have been enjoying this blog and whether it is helpful. It is a lot of work each week, so the feedback will keep me motivated. My e-mail address is SchorrlawNJ@aol.com. I wish all of my readers a happy a healthy new year, and if your case ends up being reviewed in this column, I hope its a big winner. Heres the update:
On June 22, 2012, I reported that the Plaintiff had survived Summary Judgment in a race discrimination matter. According to the Court docket, the matter settled on November 29, 2012. The settlement was confidential.
This is the US Supreme Court case in which the issue before the Court involved what level of supervisor can bind the company under the Farragher/Ellerth test. The Supreme Court held oral argument on November 26, 2012, and by all accounts, it seems to be a very close case. The alleged harasser in the case was not a manager, but rather a low level supervisor. Interestingly, Justice Scalia asked some of the most pointed questions regarding whether a low level supervisor might not still bind the company under agency principles. We will eagerly await SCOTUSs decision, which will influence harassment litigation for the next decade.
This Maine case involved a 1st Circuit appeal where the plaintiffs case had been thrown out due to an arbitration clause even the plaintiff had never been hired. The 1st Circuit reversed the dismissal, and remanded to the District Court. There was a dissent, and I speculated that the Defendant might petition for certiorari. However, the Defendant instead moved for a rehearing en banc, which was denied. Miss Goves case is now proceeding in the Maine District Court.
This was a nepotism case that had been thrown out by the District Court on summary judgment, finding that there were issues of material fact that should be resolved by a jury. Immediately upon returning back to the District Court Judge Trimble heard a new summary judgment based upon newly-discovered (after-acquired) evidence that Ms. Johnsons resume was fraudulent. Sounds like another issue of material fact? No. Judge Trimble immediately threw the case out again, and Ms. Johnson has appealed again to the Fifth Circuit while Judge Trimble is hearing a motion for reconsideration. Its rough for plaintiffs in Louisiana, huh?
This is the case where the family of a plaintiff who alleged discrimination due to cancer decided to litigate the case on Facebook and a website devoted to objecting to the employers behavior, and the employer set up competing web sites. The District Court granted a TRO as ordered the plaintiffs family members to put up a pre-judgment attachment of $1.5 million due to the alleged defamation. Understandably, the Colters appealed to the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, which upheld the pre-judgment attachment, but reduced it to a paltry $750,000.00. Not surprisingly, things have been real quiet on the Internet lately.
Plaintiff Michael McQueary scored a small victory last week in his whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State. The University had moved to stay the proceedings pending the criminal cases of Spanier, Schultz and Curley. On December 20, 2012, the Judge denied the motion. Judge Thomas G. Gavin concluded that an additional factor I deem relevant is the public stated desire of Penn State to restore its reputation as promptly as possible. Certainly, McQueary should have the same right. Allowing this case to proceed now will afford both parties that opportunity. Here is a link to the opinion.
We will continue to keep everyone updated periodically on the progress of these case as well as new cases. If anyone has further or new information on any case highlighted on this blog, please let us know.