Case Studies

Eliminating Title VII Claims Against a Leading Product Distributor

Epstein Becker Green led a client (a leading distributor of maintenance, repair, and operations products) to victory in a federal case that highlighted the importance of compliance with the procedural prerequisites to commencing an action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).

In April 2018, the plaintiff, a former employee of our client, filed a pro se complaint in a New Jersey Superior Court, asserting claims against our client involving sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliatory discharge, and slander. Epstein Becker Green, on behalf of our client, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In July 2018, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s purported claims for hostile work environment, retaliatory discharge, and slander but allowed the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

The plaintiff filed an amended complaint, alleging that he was subjected to workplace sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII. He also claimed that our client violated Title VII by denying him a promotion and pay increase and subsequently terminating his employment.

In September 2018, shortly after removing the matter to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (“District Court”), Epstein Becker Green, on behalf of our client, filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s amended complaint, because the plaintiff failed to plead exhaustion of administrative remedies to satisfy the procedural prerequisite to a Title VII claim.

On March 7, 2019, the District Court dismissed any Title VII claim in the plaintiff’s amended complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Having dismissed the only federal claim, the District Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any attempted state law claim, including any attempted claim for defamation or slander. The plaintiff has not refiled a complaint in New Jersey state court.

The Epstein Becker Green team was led by Patrick G. Brady and included John M. O’Connor.

Obtaining the Dismissal of an ADA Case Brought by a Plaintiff Who Wouldn’t Appear at Pre-Motion Conferences

Epstein Becker Green helped a major retail client terminate a lawsuit because the plaintiff, a former employee of our client, failed to appear at pre-motion conferences.

The case began in early 2018, when the plaintiff filed a pro se complaint against our client alleging a hostile work environment in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). After discovery was completed, in July 2018, Epstein Becker Green, on behalf of our client, filed a letter with the court, requesting a pre-motion conference for leave to file a motion for summary judgment.

The court scheduled the pre-motion conference for September 27, 2018, but the plaintiff failed to appear at the conference. The court then scheduled a telephonic pre-motion conference for October 5, 2018, but the plaintiff failed to appear for that conference. After multiple attempts to reach the plaintiff by telephone were unsuccessful, the court rescheduled the conference for later in the day on October 5, but the plaintiff again failed to appear. The court then ordered the plaintiff to file a letter with the court by October 22 if she intended to pursue the action, but the plaintiff failed to file the letter. Therefore, Epstein Becker Green, on behalf of our client, requested that the court dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice.

In late 2018, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint “for failure to prosecute and to comply with the court’s orders.” Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), the court also certified that any appeal from the court’s ruling would not be taken in good faith and denied the plaintiff in forma pauperis status (thus, the plaintiff will not have her court filing fees waived) for the purpose of an appeal.

The Epstein Becker Green team was led by Patrick G. Brady and included John M. O’Connor.