$1,115,000 Age Discrimination Retaliation Case in Federal Court.
Client, a union member from the Carrick section of Pittsburgh was threatened after complaining about age discrimination. Client resigned ("constructive discharge" in legal terms) because of the hostile working environment. The Jury returned a unanimous verdict in our favor. The Defendant will pay well over $1,115,000 in damages, attorney fees, interest and the $25,000 in litigation expenses for violating the law.
For this case, as in most of my cases, I hired a focus group- a random group of citizens from the community- to listen to the facts of the case to find out what else they would like to know - - how they would vote if they were on the jury. They also got to meet my client and my client got a chance to see how people he never met (like a jury) reacted to his story of what happened.
Because of the complexity of this case, I also brought in an expert jury consultant from Washington D.C. who is also an instructor at the Trial Lawyers College to assist the trial team in understanding the emotional impact on the client of the illegal conduct. We also hired an economic expert who is an Economics Professor at the University of Pittsburgh to calculate the amount my client lost in wages & benefits. In the courtroom, we used the latest Macintosh computers and software to show the documents on courtroom monitors and to let the jury see what the other side's witnesses said during their depositions - - which had been videotaped by my paralegal.
Disability & Race Discrimination Case.
My client from Aliquippa, PA is an African American salesperson with a disability affecting his spine and posture. He was employed by a national Corporation whose name is known by all. The Corporation lawyer told me the case was so bad that "You can't turn chicken s * *t into chicken salad." They offered $15,000 to settle the case before I got started. We fought. The federal district judge threw out the case ("granted a Motion for Summary Judgment" in legal lingo) -not enough evidence he said. I filed and won an Appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit agreed with me and my client. The arrogant Corporation settled the case right before trial for well into six (6) figures. (The amount, as usual in these cases, is confidential.)
Race & Gender Discrimination & Retaliation Case.
My client is a white female from Bridgeville, PA who worked for a nationally known company in the construction supply business. The company had very few minority employees and no women in management positions. My client complained to management about this and the racial and sexual jokes made by company CEO and others. She was fired. Suddenly after years of good service, she supposedly can't do anything right. I interviewed witnesses and read documents. I put together a trial team and prepared to file a class action. We prepared a Complaint to file at the EEOC (most discrimination cases must go to the EEOC first before a Federal lawsuit can be filed). The Company immediately asked us to sit down and discuss settlement. The company offered my client so much money that the case settled. It was a very substantial settlement. Sometimes-if the case is very good & most juries would hate the Company officials - - you don't even have to file the lawsuit to get some justice. In this case, I didn't even have to file the EEOC complaint. But that is rare.
Age & Gender Discrimination Case.
In this case my client who is over 40 years of age is from Gibsonia, PA and worked as a social worker for a local non-profit agency in Pittsburgh, PA. She was fired for "poor performance" after many years of outstanding service. Younger male employees were not fired and their performance was not as good as hers. This kind of evidence is evidence of discrimination-it is evidence that younger males are treated more favorably. This kind of evidence is called "evidence of pretext" in the case law-it is evidence that undermines the credibility of the Company's "explanation" why they fire someone supposedly for non-discrimination reasons. That's one kind of evidence to gather in your own case if you are reading this and wondering if you have a case of discrimination. (Make sure you talk to a lawyer at some point. Do NOT try to figure it out yourself. Every case is different & discrimination law can be complicated). A week before trial, the case settled.
First Amendment Retaliation Case.
My client from Monroeville, PA worked for a local government as a laborer. He got hurt and had to go on Workers Compensation. His boss was a bully. My client was harassed, followed, etc and fired because he filed and received Workers Compensation. This is a violation of the First Amendment.
In this case, the supervisor made a lot of damaging statements. "Hurt my a_ _", he said about my client. He made remarks to others that my client was not really hurt. This is the best kind of evidence. Look for it in your own case- especially if it is in writing, such as e-mails. Look for any statements about race, ("those people"), age ("too may old people working here") gender ("women can't run a company") etc. The Law calls this "Direct Evidence" of bias or discrimination and it can make all the difference in a case, especially to a jury.
The jury voted with us and found the individual boss in violation of the law. The value of the case was over $65,000 including attorney fees and litigation costs. The jury gave $15,000 in punitive damages against the individual supervisor. Punitive damages are very difficult to prove in general but the jury sent a clear message to this supervisor and the local government to clean up its act. Some elected officials lost in the next election!
Disability & Age Discrimination Case
My client was a 62 year old female from the Beechview section of Pittsburgh, PA who worked in a hospital lab. She developed back trouble and could not sit or stand in one place for long periods. She could not perform all of the "essential functions" of her job but there were vacancies available which she could perform and which she applied for. The Law - in this case the Americans With Disabilities Act - requires that the employer place her in the vacancy. Instead, after 12 years of loyal service, she was tossed into the streets. Fired!. She was just getting her head above water, making enough money, she told me, to buy a few extras in life such as nail polish or a toy for the cage of her pet parakeet, "George".
What bothered me the most are the Corporate lawyers; The ones who wear cufflinks, the loafers with the little dangling tassels, and talk about their vacation on the Outer Banks all the while knowing that their client violated the Law and left this mother who raised two kids on her own after her husband abandoned the family. As Gerry Spence of the Trial Lawyers College says, Corporations are heartless monstrosities enslaving the American people. We sued in Federal Court and my client received a nice settlement and is now retired living in Nevada with her son.
Sexual Harassment Cases.
My clients were two women from Elwood City and Butler PA who worked for a world wide insurance company selling insurance. They had to put up with disgusting jokes by male supervisors, were inappropriately touched, and threatened when they complained. What often happens in these cases is that the official they complained to asked them what they wanted to do, suggesting that it might create more problems. If that happens to you, you should immediately contact a lawyer. We sued in Federal Court and during the required Mediation session, my clients accepted a very nice settlement that allowed them to move on with their lives.
Breach of Contract Case
My client moved to Robinson Township near Pittsburgh to manage a restaurant and eventually become the franchise owner. The Corporation violated the contract and gave the franchise to a friend of the CEO we alleged in the lawsuit before the American Arbitration Association. During the discovery phase of the case, the Corporation settled. My client recovered his losses and was able to start over and is now successfully working in Louisiana.
CASES- DUI & CRIMINAL CASES
Felony Drug Dealing Charges
My client is a Vietnam Vet from the Mt Washington section of Pittsburgh who was arrested for possession of heroin and selling heroin to a "confidential informant". He had a previous record. He was facing 10 years in jail. But he also suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had served honorably. I really got to know my client and I told his story to the assistant D.A., the Judge and I was able to successfully argue for a sentence of probation of 6 years. No jail time. And he did not have to "snitch" on someone else.
Felony Drug Dealing Charges
My client is a young African American from McKeesport, PA who was charged with possession of and selling marijuana. I did a crime scene investigation. I took measurements and photographs of the front porch of the house where the McKeesport police claim they saw my client throw a package containing the drugs. The physical facts showed that the police could not have seen what they claimed.to have seen from where they were standing. At the Preliminary Hearing, my cross-examination of the police showed they could not have seen it. Before the Judge on the day of trial, the assistant D.A. dropped the felony charges and my client received a sentence of 6 months probation for a small amount of marijuana found in his jacket.
Aggravated Assault, Endangering Welfare of Children
My client is from Nemacolin, PA in Greene County and who is a member of the Carpenters Union & works as a carpenter in Pittsburgh. He was falsely charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of his children. All charges were dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing in Carmichaels, PA. We had witnesses to prove that the witness who called the police and filed the complaint was actually the one who should have been arrested. The police officer left the hearing to prepare an arrest warrant.
Theft by Deception
My client is from Bradford Woods PA and was arrested in Shaler Township, PA for theft by deception. Charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing.
I have handled DUI and other criminal cases over the course of the last 15 years. My clients have been from Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Butler County, Greene County, Fayette County, Washington County, Pittsburgh, Bethel Park, Waynesburg, Washington, PA, McKees Rocks Elisabeth, PA Fox Chapel, Upper St Clair. I represent undergraduate students, graduate students, high school students, as well as full time employees and middle managers.
Some DUI cases can be dismissed because the police have violated your Constitutional Rights or because of mistakes in the acquisition of evidence. I have successfully had evidence thrown out by a Judge for Constitutional violations and the charges dismissed.
Many clients, especially those charged with their first DUI and whose alcohol content in the blood is at the lower legal levels, accept the "ARD" (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) Program, a judicial program, which allows them to complete various classes on alcohol use and driving, etc and eventually have their record cleared.
If you have been charged with DUI, contact me BEFORE the Preliminary Hearing to discuss the evidence against you, any prior DUIs, etc. Do NOT "waive" your right to a Preliminary Hearing in a DUI or other Criminal case before talking to a lawyer There will be "friendly" pressure on you by the police and sometimes the Magistrate Judge to do this. Don't! Call a lawyer. Defend your Rights!