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- The Inbox - May 17, 2013
- Supreme Court Considering Whether to Accept Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Case
- Farmers Insurance Wins Summary Judgment on Ex-Employee’s Breach of Contract
- The Inbox - May 10, 2013
- Martensen v. Koch, Venue, and You
- Martensen v. Koch, Personal Jurisdiction, and You
- The Inbox, May Day Edition
- Don’t Mess With The Lawyers (Or Other Public Employees), Part 2
- April 2013 Monthly Roundup
- Rule #1: Don’t Mess With The Lawyers (Or Any Other Public-Sector Employees), Part 1
- Civil Litigation
- Breach of Contract
- Family Medical Leave
- Social Media
- Age Discrimination
- Severance Agreements – Change-in-Control Provisions
- Executive Compensation
- Dodd-Frank Act Clawbacks
- Motions to Dismiss
- The Inbox
- Religious Discrimination
- Workplace Conditions (Occupational Safety and Health)
- Monthly Roundup
- Fiduciary Duties
- Wage and Hour
- Trade Secrets
- Arbitration and ADR
- Statutes of limitations
- Wrongful Termination
- Equal Pay
- After-Acquired Evidence
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Summary Judgment
- Title VII
- The Basics
- Preliminary Injunction
Blogs We Like:
The AmLaw Daily
The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes
Connecticut Employment Law Blog
The D&O Diary
Delaware Employment Law Blog
DeNovo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog
The Employer Handbook
Executive Pay Matters
The Federal Criminal Appeals Blog
Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home: What You Need To Know Before You Scream “I Quit,” Get Fired, Or Decide to Sue the Bastards
Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog
Virginia Appellate News & Analysis
WSJ Law Blog
Showing 12 posts in Summary Judgment.
As we’ve covered before on Suits by Suits, summary judgment can be a powerful weapon for a party to a civil lawsuit. By granting summary judgment, a court can resolve a claim before trial, meaning that it’s never heard by a jury. The standard for granting summary judgment, found in Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, is well-known to civil litigators: it is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact and the case can be decided as a matter of law.
In a recent case from the District of Minnesota, Farmers Ins. Exchange v. West, the Farmers Insurance Group used summary judgment effectively on both offense and defense. First, it won a ruling that its former district manager, Theodore West, breached his appointment agreement and that Farmers suffered damages as a result. Then, on defense, it knocked out West’s counterclaims for breach of contract and discrimination.
So what happened in West’s case, and why did Farmers prevail? Read More ›
Employment Agreement Tip of The Week No. 2: Once You Get It In Writing, Put Out Future Fires By Making Sure The Writing Is Clear
Time for our second tip of the week about employment agreements. We’re looking at things many of us think we should do about employment agreements but that, oddly enough, aren’t being done – at least in the two cases we profile this week, each of which made it to a state high court.
Our first tip was straightforward: if you have an employment agreement, or think you have one but aren’t sure – get it in writing.
Our second tip follows the first. Once you’ve reduced your employment agreement to writing, make sure it’s clear – or at least, as clear as possible. Clarity will reduce the time and money you’ll spend if you get into a dispute over the agreement. Read More ›
In Part 1 of this series, we relayed the case of Pamela Hill, an engineer with the Virginia Department of Transportation. Hill was passed over for promotion. Another applicant, a man, who has less experience than Hill and doesn’t have a college degree like she has, got the job. VDOT’s only reason for the decision is that the man did better in the interview.
Hill sued VDOT, alleging sexual discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. VDOT moved for summary judgment – an early resolution in its favor – and at the end of this post, I’ll tell you if Hill won or not. Read More ›
A necessary part of life that no one particularly enjoys is the job interview: it’s tricky for the interviewee and taxing for the interviewer. Unless the interviewer gets a thrill out of asking why manhole covers are round or testing the applicant’s knowledge of medieval saints.
We’ve written about questions that shouldn’t be asked on interviews, because they can suggest a discriminatory basis for the employer’s failure to hire the job applicant. But can an interview that doesn’t include potentially discriminatory questions – just the failure to hire the applicant after the interview itself – provide the basis for the rejected applicant to allege discrimination?
Hiring executives may be interested to know the answer to this question, which was the central issue in an opinion in Hill v. Virginia Department of Transportation, released by a federal court in Virginia at the end of January. Read More ›
Let’s start this story with a basic truth: it’s generally a bad idea to tell a pregnant woman that her hormones will make her “get emotional” and get “caught up in things” in a way that affects her judgment.
You need not take this from me as a lawyer-blogger. Take it from me as a guy whose wife is pregnant with our first child. Blaming anything in our house on pregnancy hormones is a one-way ticket to the basement couch.
It’s also a bad idea to say this to a pregnant employee, as department-store chain Target Stores is learning. We’ve written about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 before, and in some high-profile contexts. But the case of Spigarelli v. Target, which will move forward in federal court in Pennsylvania now that Target has lost its summary judgment motion, shows that this lesson continues to bear discussion. Read More ›
An executive who brings a discrimination claim must jump through a number of hurdles to get to trial. On this blog, we’ve posted on a number of occasions about how under the McDonnell-Douglas test, an executive must prove a prima facie case of discrimination, after which the employer has the opportunity to show that it acted for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons. If the employer meets this burden, and the executive cannot come forward with evidence to rebut these legitimate reasons, then the court will award summary judgment to the employer before the case even gets to a trial.
The Eleventh Circuit’s recent decision in Ostrow v. GlobeCast Am. Inc., No. 11-16043 (11th Cir. Sep. 17, 2012), provides another example of how an employer can defeat a claim of discrimination by presenting non-discriminatory reasons for its actions. Read More ›
For the second time during this quiet week in late August, pregnancy is in the headlines.
The first time, of course, involved Rep. Todd Akin, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri who claimed – and then swiftly retracted – that women who are “legitimately raped” don’t get pregnant. That’s led pregnancy – and abortion politics – to dominate news coverage.
But here’s another story with pregnancy at its core: this week, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that a former buyer for fashion house Gucci can move forward with her case alleging that the luxury-goods company fired her after she became pregnant. Read More ›
This week's latest news in suits by suits:
- Former Univision National Radio Sales President Laura Hagan has sued the company, its parent company, Katz Media, and the now-deceased CEO of Katz Media, Stu Olds, for discrimination and breach of her employment contract in federal court in New York. Hagan is 66 and was born in Ecuador. She claims that, despite her division consistently exceeding sales projections, Olds asked her to resign without explanation in October 2008. The EEOC issued Hagan a right to sue letter in May 2012. According to Hagan, Olds made repeated remarks to Hagan concerning her age, race and national origin, and, at a managers’ meeting in 2004 attended by 250 company employees, included in a slide presentation a photo of Carmen Miranda (of Chiquita Banana) that was manipulated to show Hagan’s face.
- Earlier this week, Facebook and the ACLU filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the appeal currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit presenting the issue of whether "liking" a political candidate on Facebook is constitutionally-protected speech. The issue arose in the workplace. Plaintiff was a deputy in the sheriff’s office in Hampton, Virginia, and clicked that he "liked" the Facebook page of the candidate challenging his boss in an election. His boss was re-elected sheriff and then fired plaintiff and some of his colleagues, allegedly because they did not support him in the election. A federal judge found that "liking" on Facebook is not protected speech and granted summary judgment to the sheriff. Kashmir Hill of Forbes has written this analysis of the arguments presented by Facebook and the ACLU that "liking" is, in fact, speech protected by the First Amendment.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has held that former Thomas M. Cooley Law School professor Lynn Branham was not entitled to any rights protecting her against termination beyond those provided in her one-year employment contract. Branham argued that the ABA’s suggested tenure policies, including its suggestion that professors "should have permanent or continuous tenure" should be read into her employment contract. The Sixth Circuit held that Branham’s employment contract did not incorporate that suggestion from the ABA, which is only a suggestion, not a requirement, in any event.
Starbucks Challenges Ruling Under the Massachusetts Tip Act that “Shift Supervisors” Should Not Share Tips With Baristas
Companies that do business across state lines are subject to a patchwork of state and local laws governing their relationship with their employees at all levels in the chain of command. Especially for companies that do business in many different states, keeping up with the applicable laws can be full-time work. On Monday, we highlighted a new law in Illinois that arguably gives employees and job applicants rights in their interactions with employers that they would not otherwise have. A recent appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit of a ruling (the district court order upholding the magistrate’s report and recommendation is here) further underscores the variation in states’ laws when it comes to protections for employees. Starbucks' recent brief on appeal is here. Read More ›
The latest developments in suits by suits:
- When Brian Wittenstein left his job as talent coordinator at Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling for TNA’s competitor, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), he apparently took a lot of TNA confidential information with him. Now TNA is brawling with WWE and Wittenstein in court. TNA’s lawsuit acknowledges that WWE told TNA that Wittenstein had given it the confidential information and fired him. But TNA alleges that WWE conspired with Wittenstein to get the documents, delayed for three weeks before it told TNA about the disclosures, and is now using the secret details of Nature Boy Ric Flair’s contract to solicit him to join WWE. PWInsider.com.