Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Judge Janice Rogers Brown - Predictions/Results

Before Judge Brown's confirmation to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit:

"Janice Rogers Brown has a record of hostility to fundamental civil and constitutional rights principles, and she is committed to using her power as a judge to twist the law in ways that undermine those principles." Joint Press Release of People for the American Way and the NAACP, posted at The Black Commentator.
"Discrimination: Brown has written a truly stunning array of opinions ruling against people filing lawsuits for discrimination." The Truth about Janice Rogers Brown, posted at the National Organization for Women.
Judge Brown's first two authored opinions in employment cases.

Jones v. District of Columbia Dept. of Corrections (11/15/05) [pdf]:

"Appellant Angela R. Jones brought this action against her employer, the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (“Department”), and various individuals, alleging sexual harassment, retaliation, and several common law claims. The district court granted summary judgment against Jones as to all causes of action and denied Jones’s motion for leave to amend her complaint. We reverse the judgment of the district court as to Jones’s sexual harassment cause of action. We also reverse the order of the district court denying Jones leave to amend her complaint."
Reversed because Defendant failed to plead Farragher/Ellerth defense as an affirmative defense.
Smith v. District of Columbia (D.C. Cir. 12/6/05) [pdf]:
"Gwendolyn Smith, a former employee of the District of Columbia’s Department of Mental Health (DMH), filed suit against the District, claiming she was the victim of discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court granted summary judgment to the District on both claims; Smith now appeals. We find the district court properly granted summary judgment on Smith’s retaliation claim but abused its discretion by granting the District’s late motion for summary judgment on the discrimination claim. We therefore remand the case for trial on the discrimination claim."
Reversed because the Defendant filed motion for summary judgment after the deadline.
In fairness, these early decisions were both on procedural issues. But most would agree the results are harsh and the one on the short end in both cases was the employer. Hardly what one would expect if you listened only to the People for the American Way, the NAACP and NOW. Maybe something to remember for the confirmation hearing of Judge Alito.

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