We have a track record of successfully and economically defending claims involving employment discrimination and retaliation. By developing a well thought out litigation strategy early in the case and executing it effectively, we have succeeded in obtaining early dismissals of claims brought against our clients. For example, we forced a plaintiff to agree to dismiss her worker’s compensation retaliation case against our client before we completed the first deposition by strategically confronting the facts at the deposition.
The plaintiff had claimed she was sexually harassed by a manager, but did not timely file a claim of sexual harassment. At her deposition, she was asked about the sexual harassment, and it became clear this was the focus of her attention rather than the claim of worker’s compensation retaliation, which was timely filed. The alleged harasser was an openly gay male and the plaintiff was female, but she insisted he sexually harassed her nonetheless. By the end of the questioning, the plaintiff admitted no one else who worked for the client treated her inappropriately and she attributed all of her employment troubles and damages to the alleged sexual harassment.
Only after those admissions did we begin asking about her worker’s compensation injuries and claims, all of which happened before the alleged sexual harasser became her manager. Eventually, through skillful questioning and strategy, the plaintiff admitted that none of our client’s managers ever disciplined or threatened to take any adverse action against her because of her worker’s compensation claim. In fact, she admitted no one as much as said anything negative about her claim for worker’s compensation. She also admitted she did not attempt to find comparable employment after resigning her employment with our client. Even if she had a claim, she was not entitled to recover any lost wages because she had failed to make any effort to mitigate those losses.
Given this damning testimony, we took a break from the deposition and persuaded the plaintiff’s attorney that the plaintiff should agree to dismiss her claim with prejudice within 10 days in exchange for our client not seeking sanctions. The plaintiff’s agreement was placed on the record of the deposition, and the case was effectively over with very little expense to our client.
An international manufacturing client came to our firm seeking legal advice on their business formation in the U.S. in accordance with the rules of the Federal Trade Commission. While drafting compliant website content, customer brochures and product information materials, testing revealed issues related to compliance with the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”).
We assisted our client in determining all testing required, materials needed for the new product prototypes and all report, memorandum and correspondence drafting in cooperation with the CPSC to properly report the product issue. In working closely with Washington, D.C. counsel and the CPSC directly, we helped our client submit all required forms, specifications and manuals, including document translation, to the CPSC reviewers.
As a result, our client was required to design and submit a corrective action plan for the national recall of the products at issue. After efficiently working our client through that process, we assisted with all state and federal licensing for financing and sale of the products, and drafting of all necessary agreements for operation of the company, including a detailed warranty for the products and agreements between the client and its independent contractors. Our client is back in business!
We successfully defended a sexual harassment and sexual stereotyping lawsuit filed in state court by a former male employee. The former employee claimed he was treated unfavorably because of his sexual orientation. He sued not only our client, but also a former manager of our client, as well as one of our client’s suppliers. By familiarizing ourselves with all the relevant facts, including conducting extensive interviews of all the pertinent witnesses prior to taking the plaintiff’s deposition, we were able to negate the plaintiff’s claims with one deposition. Our carefully thought out deposition strategy resulted in deposition testimony from the plaintiff himself that made it clear he had no valid claim.
We then moved for summary judgment on all claims and served a motion for sanctions seeking reimbursement of our client’s attorney’s fees and costs under Florida Statute 57.105. The plaintiff was provided with the required 21-day safe harbor to withdraw his claims voluntarily, but refused to do so. Therefore, we proceeded with the hearing on our summary judgment motion and the Court agreed the plaintiff had no evidence to support his case, granting summary judgment in our client’s favor. Before the hearing on our motion for sanctions, the plaintiff finally agreed to dismiss the claims against all three defendants with prejudice, and agreed to reimburse our client’s costs. By efficiently handling the case, our client was spared a considerable amount of money that otherwise would have been spent in litigation.
Our client, a national franchisor, found themselves in a complex dispute with a corporate employee. The employee defrauded our client as to her abilities and qualifications to perform the required duties, responsibilities and objectives of her position. In committing this fraud, she also arranged the assistance of other individuals and a corporate entity to further deceive our client in violation of, among other things, the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act in the relevant jurisdiction.
Our client had no choice but to terminate the employee. After her termination, we strategically worked with our client to investigate and build a substantial case not only against her, but also against the multiple defendants involved in the dispute. Our investigative efforts included research of corporate entities related to each defendant, locating each defendant, conducting in-depth interviews of defendants and third parties to the litigation and conducting detailed legal analysis of the case. As a result, we filed a complaint in federal court against individual and corporate defendants and aggressively pursued service and discovery efforts in the matter.
As a result of our continuous and diligent efforts to speak to third parties and directly with opposing counsel of the defendants, we were able to obtain favorable settlements against the defendants. These settlement agreements provided economic recovery and equitable relief for our client, while also saving significant time and expense of proceeding with complex business litigation in federal court.
Our client was confronted with multiple EEOC charges from an employee claiming that she was denied reasonable accommodation because she had historically attended church every Sunday and her current supervisor was now requiring her to work on Sundays as her job duties required. Unfortunately, her historical time off was partially true. She was given some Sundays off, and on other Sundays she just called in and said she would be missing work to attend church. This employee was exceptionally difficult to work with at times so she was permitted to get away with it. Eventually, the problem needed to be corrected and our client came to us for help.
We wrote a detailed letter for our client to send to the employee explaining why she needed to work at least two Sundays each month. Consistent with Title VII principles, we explained she could work a split shift or other hours outside of Church services so the work could get done, while accommodating her religious observances. The employee refused, claiming she had to be in church all day. Anticipating this position wouldn’t change, we hired a private investigator to follow her and videotape her whereabouts on Sundays. It turned out she was not in church all day. She left the morning service at approximately 12:30, with plenty of time to complete the work that our client needed. When confronted with the videotape, she changed her tune, claiming she had already told management she was available to work when she was not at church. Of course, her documents said otherwise and the inconsistency of her positions proved fatal to her claim. Wondering what she would have said had we not had the video evidence of her fraudulent statements, our client was glad she never had the opportunity to go down that road.
A national provider of technical services that require specified training in a discreet industry hired us to pursue a covenant not to compete issue. Our client requires various employees who have access to confidential and trade secret information, along with insider’s knowledge of the client’s operations, business and business relationships (collectively, the “legitimate business interests”), to execute covenants not to compete, which specify permitted activities of the employee during, and for a period of time after, his or her employment with the client.
While still employed, two of our client’s employees formed a competing business in direct violation of their written agreements. Shortly after forming the new business, both employees voluntarily terminated employment with our client and proceeded to unfairly compete in violation of their valid and enforceable covenants not to complete.
Spotting an opportunity to avoid the time and expense of costly litigation for these matters, we built a strategy in support of enforcing each former employee’s agreement. After issuing cease and desist notices to each former employee, we worked with our client and the former employee’s counsel to draft settlement agreements designed to recoup economic damages for our client and require the former employees to comply with their respective agreements. Through diligent negotiation efforts, we were able to settle with both former employees, allowing our client to achieve their business objectives without unfair competition.
Like many employers, our clients have had to weather class and collective action claims asserted under federal wage and hour laws and related state law claims with potential exposure in the millions of dollars. In the past few years alone, we’ve represented clients with such claims in Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, California and Florida, with the common thread that in each such case, tremendous value resulted from interviewing and securing sworn testimony from a substantial sample of potential class members to determine the work they actually performed as compared to the allegations asserted by the Plaintiffs’ lawyers. In each scenario, we were able to use the information in court to defeat the class claims, or we used the information to effectively dissuade plaintiffs’ counsels from pursuing a class- based claim. The net result was a successful and early disposition of what would otherwise be a tedious and expensive litigation.
Our client had an employee performing work at an average level, with intermittent failings resulting in frustrations for the department head. Making the matter more difficult, soon after the more serious mistakes were discovered, the employee claimed he needed FMLA leave for depression.
When the litigation started, we proceeded as we normally do—an in depth, on-line search of the employee to see what was out there that we may use to our benefit or to at least understand the plaintiff to the greatest extent possible before sitting them down for deposition. We learned that this employee claimed he was unable to work due to depression, but he was doing “podcasts” on the side as a hobby. We had no obligation to disclose what was discovered prior to his deposition, so when he initially testified that he needed his FMLA time because of his severe depression, his lawyer lost all interest in the case when we revealed his podcasts that were being recorded at the same time he was allegedly too depressed to work. Once his credibility was lost, his case was too. His lawyer, not surprisingly, asked for a $25,000.00 settlement. We recommended to our client and our client agreed that no settlement money should be paid. It would be a benefit to the plaintiff to drop the case without risking the imposition of fees or costs against him, and his lawyer had no interest in proceeding on a contingency arrangement given his client’s actions. The case was settled and dismissed for no money.