Premier New England Trial Attorneys

Another Victory: Melick & Porter Wins Summary Judgment in Federal Court

Congratulations to Mike Byrne, Jen Sunderland and Michael "Maz" Mazurczak for winning summary judgment in a Federal court employment law case!  The plaintiff, a former public school counselor, sued the city and the school system after her contract was not renewed, claiming she was wrongfully terminated and blacklisted in retaliation for having taken a medical leave.  Jen and Maz pursued an aggressive defense strategy, and successfully persuaded the court to dismiss eight of the plaintiff’s ten claims early in the litigation.  However, the plaintiff was permitted to conduct discovery in an effort to bolster her two remaining claims, alleging wrongful termination and violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Undeterred, Jen and Maz enlisted Mike’s help in filing a motion for summary judgment on those claims, arguing that the wrongful termination claim was barred by the FMLA, and the FMLA claim was both untimely and lacked evidentiary support.  The court agreed, rejecting the plaintiff’s public policy arguments, as well as her assertion that she did not “discover” the defendants’ alleged misconduct until over a year after her contract was not renewed.  The court went on to hold that, even if her claim had been filed within the statute of limitations, the plaintiff failed to present evidence that the nonrenewal of her contract was causally connected to her previous medical leave.  Despite some complex legal issues and convoluted allegations, persistence was rewarded, and careful focus on the weak points in the plaintiff’s case yielded a great result!