August 2010

Q&H Defeats Section 1983 and Title VII Employment Claims

Chicago shareholders Paul O'Grady, David Flynn, Dominick Lanzito and Ari Scharg recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of the Will County Sheriff's Office and four Sheriff's Office employees that were sued individually. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois Federal District Court under Section 1983 and Title VII.

In the case, the plaintiff, a Deputy Sheriff, claimed gender discrimination, retaliation, and violation of her First Amendment right to free speech after she was placed on paid administrative leave while being investigated by the Sheriff's Office for misconduct. Defendants successfully defeated the claims by arguing that there was no evidence that the plaintiff was treated differently from other 'similarly situated' male employees and that the plaintiff's speech was not constitutionally protected. In addition to granting summary judgment, the court agreed with the defendants' position that placement on paid administrative leave does not constitute an 'adverse employment action.' The court's language on this issue will be useful persuasive authority in many future employment cases.

Taylor Obtains Excellent Results In Multiple Auto Accident Cases

Q&H suburban success continues in Lake County. Associate Jill Taylor recently received a favorable jury verdict for a T-bone style automobile accident. Plaintiff claimed that the defendant ran a red light and impacted with the passenger side of her vehicle as she proceeded straight. The defendant testified that she had the green light. No independent witnesses could offer supporting testimony to either side.

Plaintiff claimed a soft tissue neck and back strain as a result, with chiropractic care. Plaintiff testified that she has had ongoing daily pain since this accident in 2003, although her medical treatment submitted also ended in 2003. The jury assessed the plaintiff with 50% negligence and awarded only $7,500 in medical bills, reduced then to $3,725. The jury failed to award anything for pain and suffering, or loss of a normal life. Jill also recently received a not guilty decision at arbitration and a judgment in the defendant's favor at a bench trial for property damage - both cases for automobile accidents involving left turning defendants

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