Coniglio v. New York Community Bancorp, Inc., 2:18-cv-06921-JFB-GRB
Outcome: The litigation led to a confidential resolution.
We represented Donna Coniglio a Long Island, NY resident in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York on an age discrimination and retaliation case. Ms. Coniglio had a successful career in the banking industry and she was a long standing member of the Association of Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialists. She spent a number of years in the New York Community Bancorp’s Community Reinvestment Assistant/Community Development Lending Department as a CRA Manager. She managed a team charged with conducting investigations on cases and alerts produced through the bank’s automated monitoring system or through internal referrals, subpoenas or 90 Day/continuing Suspicious Activity Reviews. She then continued her successful career in the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti Money Laundering department.
Smith v. Ergo Solutions, LLC 14-cv-00382-JDB
Outcome: Representing the Defendant - Defendants' Jury Verdict
Another jury trial win defending the company on sexual harassment and gender discrimination charges. In a four and a half day grueling jury trial, the plaintiff alleged that the Ergo Solutions C.E.O. had created a hostile work environment, made numerous unwanted propositions her for sexual activity, sent unwanted, lewd sexual pictures and that Ergo terminated her job after her refusals. The plaintiff sued the company and the C.E.O. individually. After an hour and a half of deliberations, the jury returned a DEFENDANTS' VERDICT.
Demaris Belanger v. FEMA, EEOC No. 570-2018-00401X
Outcome: Confidential Settlement Agreement
We represented a Federal employee, a female, who was a Program Analyst, GS-0343-14. She worked in the office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer. The Chief Component Human Capital Officer and highest-ranking individual in the division made one reorganization decision, to effectively demote and degrade Ms. Belanger’s management position by removing her supervisory authority and reassigning her direct reports. The other five male managers at our client’s level did not have their jobs impacted. The Agency attempted to explain away these events under the cover of a “reorganization”. However, when the Agency couldn’t specifically address the disparity in gender treatment at deposition or in Summary Judgment, the EEOC Administrative Judge Denied the Agency’s Summary Judgment motion, which led to a confidential settlement agreement.
Charles Kyle Limbo, SR. v. Department of the Navy, MSPB, PH-315H-20-0268-I-1
Our Client was an Administrative/Technical Specialist. His duties included the oversight of the proper distribution of military equipment. Our client was of a different race than everyone else in his component. His first line supervisor imposed certain restrictions on him, thereby preventing him from gaining assistance from his co-workers. Several of his African-American co-workers spoke up on his behalf and attested in their EEO Report of Investigation interviews as to the disparate treatment and racial bias the supervisor demonstrated against him. Because of these co-workers’ bravery, we were able to obtain a confidential settlement in the face of our client’s removal.
Jason mount v. Department of Homeland Security, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 18-1762
This was an Appeal filed under the All Circuit Review Extension Act in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, Boston, Massachusetts. The MSPB Administrative Judge dismissed Mr. Jason Mount's perceived whistleblower claim, contending that his OSC complaint failed to specify the term, "perceived whistleblower." The Court made new law holding, " [f]or the first time in this Circuit, we hold that the WPA only requires that complainant include sufficient factual basis to enable the agency to investigate." This holding effectively holds MSPB Administrative Judges to a much higher standard in dismissing whistleblower cases. Case picked up by Law Justia: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca1/18-1762/18-1762-2019-08-29.html
Base One Technologies v. Thai Dula, United States District Court, District of Maryland, Civil Action No.: 8:18-cv-264-PX
We represented Mr. Thai Dula, a former employee of Base One Technologies, Inc., who was sued by his former employer for breach of a Non-Compete agreement. The company also filed a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) against Mr. Dula asking for a Court order directing Mr. Dula to immediately quit his job with the new company. We successfully defended this action against the TRO. That win led to settlement negotiations and the case resolved.
Marilyn Garcia v. DHS (ICE), EEOC No. 510-2017-00407X
Another win against ICE. The EEOC Administrative Judge granted a Default Judgment in our favor. We represent Marilyn Garcia who was targeted by SAC Miami SIP management in many ways after complaining about discrimination. She received poor and undeserved reviews; she was accused of using large amounts of leave unnecessarily; ICE management issued her a letter of reprimand for conduct that occurred four years earlier. We fought the agency tooth and nail at the administrative, Report of Investigation stage and we obtained a default judgment sanction for the agency failing to conduct a timely ROI and misleading the Court about it. The AJ stated that default judgment as a remedy was unavoidable after we argued that ICE repeatedly fails to complete timely and meaningful investigations.
Crowley v. Perdue, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 16-cv-00498
We represent Kevin Crowley, a USDA Supervisory Information Technology Specialist. In 2008, Mr. Crowley was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and arterial insufficiency, He teleworked two days a week starting in May, 2013. In January, 2015, his supervisor told him that two senior level officials opposed his telework arrangement. Crowley immediately made a formal request for accommodation and two months later he was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, which he passed. The government moved for Summary Judgment twice and each time, U.S. District Court Judge, Amit P. Mehta denied the government's motion. The Court noted that not only did Mr. Crowley pass the PIP, he demonstrated that the PIP should have ended far earlier than it did because he was satisfying the employer's expectation of his job performance.
Frances Smith v. Riderwood Village, Inc. No 2059 (Md. App., 2018)
We represented Plaintiff, Frances Smith, an African-American woman fired by Riderwood VIII, Inc. for alleged theft, after reportedly wrapping up leftover food in violation of company policy. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reversed the lower court's dismissal of the case which held that Ms. Smith failed to properly file her discrimination complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. The Appeals Court held that her filing more than met the statutory requirements. The case was reported in the Maryland Daily Record, May 5, 2018.
Hatter v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, U.S. District Court, DC, Case No: 1-14-cv-01470-TSC
We represented Corwin Hatter, in a disability discrimination case. Mr. Hatter applied for a WMATA bus driver position. Following a medical examination that revealed Mr. Hatter suffered from a moderate form of sleep apnea, a WMATA human resource's manager told him that if he had any form of sleep apnea, he could not be hired by WMATA as a bus driver. As such, Mr. Hatter did not submit his medical reports to obtain his medical certification. In denying Summary Judgment, U.S. Federal District Court Judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, rejected WMATA's argument that Mr. Hatter's failure to submit his medical reports to obtain certification caused his hiring failure. The case settled confidentially shortly before Jury Trial.
Robinson v. Ergo Solutions, LLC, United States District Court, District of Columbia, 14-00379-JDB, January 18, 2018
We represented the DEFENDANT, Ergo Solutions, Inc., against a former employee who asserted a retaliation claim for filing an EEOC charge and subsequently having her telework removed. After three years of litigation, we obtained a DEFENDANT'S VERDICT, at the close of a three-day jury trial in Washington, DC. The jury found for our client in that Ergo Solutions, Inc. had valid reasons for removing the employee's telework, completely unrelated to her EEOC claims.
Outcome: Defendant's Verdict - We represented the Defendant.
James Crawford v. Elaine C. Duke, United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit, 16-5063
Our office represents James Crawford, an African-American, employed by the Department of Homeland Security as a Special Security Officer in the Special Security Programs Division. We successfully appealed the District Court Judge's dismissal of Mr. Crawford's claims of racial discrimination and retaliation involving a performance review with a low score of "zero" and a five day suspension. The Court of Appeals held that the Department of Homeland Security failed to provide Mr. Crawford of fair notice as to making these two claims part of his EEO formal complaint in its communications with him. The Appeals Court also held that Mr. Crawford, pro se at the time, provided enough information to the DHS EEO officer to apprise the agency of these claims. Morris E. Fischer, Esq., successfully argued the appeal on May 4, 2017.
P. S. v. Department of Defense (Security Clearance Matter)
Federal employee had his access to classified information suspended clearance revoked for prior drug use, primarily during his college years. Our client was accused of cultivating, manufacturing, processing, selling and distributing illegal narcotics. We successfully obtained a favorable disposition enabling our client to maintain his access to classified information, security clearance and keep his position.
Connie Collins-Duke v. Department of Veterans Affairs, OFO Appeal No. 0120171268
We represent Connie Collins-Duke, a registered nurse at the VA medical facility in Salisbury, North Carolina. Ms. Collins-Duke's supervisor breached confidentiality by showing her discrimination complaint to the other unit co-workers. The Department of Veterans Affairs unlawfully dismissed her retaliation claim, contending that she didn't suffer from a hostile work environment and that the breach of confidentiality involves The Privacy Act - not an EEO retaliation claim. The Office of Federal Operations reversed the dismissal, ordered the VA to process the EEO complaint and pay all attorney fees in the EEO complaint processing.
Orlowske v. Price, United States District Court, District of Columbia, 16-cv-00383
We represented Dale Orlowske against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on an age discrimination and retaliation case. Mr. Orlowske, of Linden, VA, is a GS-14 Senior Intelligence Operations Specialist and was suspended unlawfully for two weeks for allegedly providing false information on a parking pass to a contractor-employee. We contended these charges were fabricated against Mr. Orlowske and a pretext for his age discrimination complaints. Case settled for $40,000 and the removal of the suspension after we successfully defeated the government's 20 exhibit dismissal motion.
Royster v. Gahler, et al, United States District Court, District of Maryland, TJS-15-1843
We represent 44-year-old, Angela Royster, a Harford County Sheriff’s Department, Crime Analyst Manager who brought suit after former Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane passed her over for a promotion in favor of a 23-year-old with very little experience. After complaining about discrimination, she was then reassigned to a less favorable work location, a local detention center. There was evidence that former Police Major Christopher Swain engaged in age-related comments, demonstrating a discriminatory animus that influenced the promotion process. This included Major Swain preferring the younger candidate because of her relative youth, referring to her on several occasions as being "young and bright." He also admitted he had a "friendly" relationship with her because she was the same age as his son. In denying the Defendant's Summary Judgment motion, the Court rejected the employer's contention of Ms. Royster's alleged poor work performance, citing the lack of documentary evidence for that contention. The Court having dismissed the Sheriff’s motion to throw the case out, will set a jury trial date.
Client v. Department of Homeland Security, March 10, 2017
Security clearance revoked by Agency for surfing the internet during work and among other sites frequented, lingerie football. Successfully overturned decision arguing that Client's actions were nothing compared to Hillary Clinton's and she almost became president.
Complainant v. Social Security Administration, EEOC No. 410-2016-00297X
We represent a Social Security Administration ("SSA"), Administrative Law Judge who was investigated and had managerial duties removed because he was in a management chain, which included a supervisor accused of lying to an EEO investigator. SSA later dismissed all charges against our client. SSA had never before investigated an SSA employee on such charges or temporarily removed managerial duties because of this kind of allegation. A female supervisor who also was accused of lying to an EEO investigator didn't have her managerial duties removed. We moved for Summary Judgment on a retaliation claim and await the decision. SSA missed the 180 deadline to produce a Report of Investigation in our Client's case. We brought a sanction's motion that resulted in the EEOC ALJ sanctioning the Agency by requiring SSA to pay for all the discovery costs and fees. We deposed over 15 witnesses across the states of Missouri, Georgia, New York, Maryland and Virginia.
Toledo v. Department of Homeland Security (ICE), EEOC No. 510-2017-00168
We represent Lorenzo Toledo (the actor - see Filmography - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2109891/ and ICE special agent) on a harassment and retaliation case. ICE exceeded the 180 day requirement to produce the Report of Investigation. In a highly fought sanction's motion, we advised the Judge of the nine other cases in which Morris E. Fischer, LLC represented ICE employees and ICE blew the same deadline. The Judge granted the rare sanction of total default judgment on liability in favor of Mr. Toledo. A trial on damages is pending. I extend my deep gratitude to Mr. Toledo for entrusting my law firm with his high profile matter and I am pleased with this case result.
Atkin v. Goldberg's New York Bagels et al, 8:15-cv-03413-GJH, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
I'm a big believer in giving back to my local community. Goldberg's Bagels has been a staple of the Silver Spring, MD, business community for many years. We defended the bagel shop from an employee overtime claim that could have cost the bagel shop tens of thousands of dollars. U.S. District Court Judge, George J. Hazel, dismissed the plaintiff's claims on Summary Judgment. It was an honor to be retained by Goldberg's Bagels.
Taylor Johnson v. Department of Homeland Security, MSPB No: SF-1221-16-0004-W-2
Our firm was retained by Senior Immigration and Enforcement Agent, Taylor Johnson, who testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in June, 2015. Ms. Johnson reported extensive abuse of the EB-5, USCIS Immigrant Investor Program with respect to the refurbishing of a Las Vegas casino, headed by an investor group, represented by Rory Reid, Esq., son of U.S. Senate Minority leader, Harry Reid (D-NV). The Department of Homeland Security issued an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report concluded that Reid pressured a compliant DHS official to override normal departmental procedures and rush through 230 EB-5 foreign visa applications.
The OIG report found that requests to expedite EB-5 processing are normally granted only in very rare circumstances, but in this case to save the project, after a number of phone calls with Senator Reid’s office, USCIS Director and Deputy DHS Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, pressured ICE officials to expedite and approve the processing.
Ms. Johnson’s reward for whistle blowing was ICE taking her weapon and ICE credentials, along with her government vehicle and access to her place of employment. In addition, the Agency issued a Proposal to Remove based upon charges that had absolutely no basis. When a social worker working with the Johnson family with respect to her adopted children contacted ICE, she was told that Ms. Johnson was terminated for a criminal offense. As a result, Ms. Johnson nearly lost her 1 year old adopted child. Morris E. Fischer, Esq. and Daniel Kenney, Esq., of Counsel to the firm litigated the case before the Merit Systems Protection Board, where the matters were resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.
Keegan v. Social Security Administration
Morris Fischer represents, Michael Keegan, a former Associate Commissioner for Facilities for the Social Security Administration, who blew the whistle on Carolyn Colvin, the President’s nominee to lead the agency. In short, Ms. Colvin, failed to disclose to Congress a damning report regarding a 300 million dollar computer system to process disability claims of which she was aware. Moreover, she misled Congress into believing that the project was right on schedule without any notable issues. The case was pursued by the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Darrell Issa (R-CA).
On June 11, 2015, we represented Mr. Keegan who testified before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs, one of the most powerful committees in all of Congress. This committee is chaired by Ron Johnson, (R-WI) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) serves as the minority ranking member. Well known U.S. Senators, John McCain (R-AZ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) all serve on this committee. The testimony was televised nationally by C-SPAN. Mr. Keegan testified to the gross waste by SSA regarding a National Computer Center project in which agency officials misled Congress.
Hayes v. Napolitano, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 12-825 (ABJ)
The firm represented New York City, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief James Hayes when was passed over for promotions in favor of less-qualified individuals, some of whom used to work for Janet Napolitano and were friends of hers, when she was governor of Arizona. When Hayes complained about discrimination and government corruption, he was retaliated against by ICE officials launching six investigations against him, none of which were founded. Hayes lawsuit alleged among other things that ICE Chief of Staff, Ms. Barr created a frat house-type atmosphere culture.
The case gathered national press coverage, including segments on NBC's Today show and Fox News, as well as articles on CNN, and national papers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. After several months of litigation in federal Court, the case resulted in ICE Chief of Staff resigning and a $175,000 settlement without Mr. Hayes being forced to resign.
Demaris Belanger v. Department of Homeland Security, M.S.P.B. Washington Regional Office, DC-0752-15-0985-I-2
In an M.S.P.B. hearing win, we represented Ms. Demaris Belanger, who had her security clearance temporarily suspended for alleged improper activity. In addition to restoring her clearance, we litigated at the M.S.P.B, contending that while Ms. Belanger’s clearance was suspended, Ms. Belanger should have continued performing her duties because Ms. Belanger’s program manager job never required a security clearance in the first place, since that job title didn’t require the routine handling of classified information. On August 1, 2016, the M.S.P.B. Administrative Law Judge ordered that DHS compensate Ms. Belanger for her lost earnings during the suspension and all attorney fees be paid.
Lyons v. District of Columbia, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, Case No: 1:14-cv-00278-ABJ
A former fleet deputy administrator for the District of Columbia's Department of Public Works, Christopher Lyons, was terminated when he brought whistle-blower disclosures involving financial flaws and cover-ups. Mr. Lyons, was repeatedly called, "cracker", "white boy" and other racially derogative terms. His supervisor, an African American, complained on Mr. Lyons' behalf to stop the harassment, but those complaints fell on deaf ears and the supervisor was fired as well by the Fleet management, Deputy Director. On his termination date, Mr. Lyons found a "Get Out White Boy" sign taped to the door of his office. Case made national news and among the national media outlets, was reported on the Fox national website homepage on July 31, 2015. We litigated this case for several years before forcing a confidential settlement after the Summary Judgment stage and before Trial in August, 2016.
Czerska v. HHS, et al, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, Case No. 15-0129
We represented Dr. Ewa Czerska, a former FDA employee who after working for the Agency for 30 years, blew the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse, including the FDA purposely ignoring radiation warnings regarding General Electric's Healthcare unit. Matter was reported in the New York Times in March, 2010. The Agency removed Dr. Czerska in retaliation of her disclosures. Our law firm took the case over from two previous law firms.
Deborah Jones v. Jeh Johnson, Secretary, DHS, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, Case No: 13-1567
We represented Debbie Jones, a Department of Homeland Security Specialist, who after complaining of discrimination was written up for insubordination. Ms. Jones who suffered from diabetes, pulmonary embolism, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, was denied a handicap parking space for a year and four months. The Agency had little to say in it's dismissal motion which failed. Following discovery, case settled for $100,000 at mediation.
Southard v. Wicomico County Board of Education, 1:14-cv-00323-SAG (November, 2015)
Complex disability discrimination case brought under the Federal Rehabilitation Act and FMLA violations. Plaintiff, Dr. Melody Southard, was wrongfully terminated and retaliated against after she protested the school's decision to no longer administer the medically recommended diet to her disabled son, a student at the school district in which she taught. A heavily fought litigation in which both sides moved for Summary Judgment. After we successfully survived the County's dismissal motion, the case resolved at mediation for a confidential settlement.
Annette Bates v. Department of the Treasury, MSPB Case, Denver Field Office (October, 2015)
After more than 30 years of successful federal service, following discrimination complaints of age and gender discrimination, our client, federal auditor, Annette Bates, was placed on a 60 day performance improvement plan and despite being on that plan for only eighteen days, she was removed from the agency. Morris E. Fischer, a former staff auditor himself at Ernst & Young, prior to attending law school in the early 90s, used his unique professional experience to successfully take two critical depositions of Ms. Bates’ supervisor and director. The agency file contained thousands of auditing work papers in an attempt to hide the true nature of the alleged mistakes committed by Ms. Bates. The case further required a familiarity with the “Teammate” auditing software which we utilized.
Following the filing of a superior Pre-Trial statement which contained agency admissions revealed at depositions and the most recent M.S.P.B. case law on the significant recognized defenses to Chapter 43 Removal actions, the agency offered to settle. The case settled a week before hearing and settlement terms included a combination of $190,000 for back pay, compensatory damages and attorney fees as well as all negative information from Ms. Bates’ personnel file removed.
Shay A. Hitchcock v. Atlantic Southeast Airlines, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi, Civil Action No. 1:04CV70-M-D.
Our office, along with the Mississippi law firm, Waide & Associates, who we retained as local counsel, also represented Mr. Hitchcock in his Federal Court action against Atlantic Southeast Airlines for tortious interference with a contract and defamation. The Oxford, Mississippi jury found that the defendant had maliciously interfered with Mr. Hitchcock's employment by falsely accusing him of homosexual harassment. It awarded $120,000.00 in back pay and $750,000.00 in pain and suffering.
Shay A. Hitchcock v. Department of Homeland Security, Appeal No. 0120051461
Morris E. Fischer, Esq. successfully appealed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Federal Operations (OFO) and obtained a reversal of the Summary Judgment decision issued by Lead Administrative Law Judge for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, Clarence Bell. In the case the OFO found that Judge Bell had improperly found for the Department of Homeland Security on Summary Judgment.
Our client, Mr. Shay Hitchcock was wrongfully terminated when he was falsely accused of improper sexual conduct toward a Delta employee. As a result, Mr. Hitchcock then became a victim of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, when he refused to publicly apologize to the employee at the Golden Triangle Airport, in Columbus, Mississippi. Click here to read the decision.
Ann Mogenhan v. Janet Ann Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 1:98-cv-00817-JDS
In an opinion written by Circuit Judge, Merrick Garland, recently considered for appointment to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, reversed the grant of Summary Judgment on Ms. Ann Mogenhan's retaliation claim. In doing so, the Court remanded the case back to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a jury trial. The appellate brief was drafted and orally argued by Morris E. Fischer, Esq.
Morris Fischer, Esq., assisted by Daniel Kenney, then conducted a three day jury trial that resulted in a verdict in his client's favor for $250,000 and an attorney fee award for 19 years. Ms. Mogenhan, who suffers from heat-triggered migraine headaches, contended that in response to filing an EEO agency complaint, her supervisor materially increased her workload as compared to that of other employees. The Secret Service never offered one cent on the case. Mr. Fischer effectively handled the case for 7 years. We thank our client Ann Marie Mogenhan for entrusting her case with our firm and for the many referrals she has made to our office.
Homa v. Ambu Inc., Maryland Circuit Court, Anne Arundel County, Case No: C-14-187983
Firm represented Frank Homa, former Ambu, Inc., President and CEO, with outstanding career, replaced by a significantly younger, less experienced person. Deposition testimony substantiated Mr. Homa's claims of age discrimination. We brought suit for $2,000,000 and successfully defeated the company's Motion for Summary Judgment.
John Welsh v. AmericaHomeKey, Inc., et al, Case No: 389561-V, Maryland Circuit Court, Montgomery County
Plaintiff, John Welsh, was employed in an Executive Vice-President position at AmericaHomeKey, Inc., a mortgage lending business. Mr. Welsh paid paid $165,000 for his 5% ownership share of the company and was promised he would keep 80% of the profit generated by his retail direct business. Company failed to keep its promises to Mr. Welsh, who brought suit against the company and six individual Defendants, officers of the company. Plaintiff produced millions of dollars in revenues for the company and was told that his commissions were held in rollover accounts which would later be distributed to Ms. Welsh. Case resulted, in $1.9 million, awarded by Judge Ronald B. Rubin on default judgment following damages trial
Bullard v. Motorola, Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, Case No: 1:08-cv-03311-WMN
High profile age discrimination case in which Morris E. Fischer, Esq., single handedly litigated against four Defense lawyers for Motorola. Plaintiff, Harmon Bullard, who originally brought the case pro-se, spent over 16 years helping to build and develop the U.S. Federal Government Markets Division (USFGMD) Contracts and Compliance Organization infrastructure at Motorola. He responded to over 300 audit points that resulted in the development of numerous policies, procedures and processes. after two years as the acting Federal Division Director of Contracts and Compliance, Mr, Bullard was promoted to fill the position of Director, Contracts and Compliance, the same position he held for over eight years, until his termination. Morris E. Fischer litigated the case for over two years and forced a confidential settlement following the close of discovery. Defendants did not file for Summary Judgment.
Atkinson v. The Baltimore City Police Department, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, Civil Action No. 12-cv-3405 (WDQ)
Bradd Atkinson, a Pennsylvania resident and former Baltimore City police officer, brought a case for disability discrimination against the Baltimore City Police Department. Mr. Atkinson was injured in the line of duty and after he recovered the Baltimore Police Department still regarded him as disabled and assessed that he couldn’t perform the essential duties of his position. This conclusion was rendered despite a health care provider at Mercy Medical Center that cleared Mr. Atkinson for duty.
The Defendant attempted to dismiss the case contending the case was barred by the legal doctrine of judicial estoppels, with respect to certain temporary disability benefits Mr. Atkinson received. However, Federal Judge William D. Quarles, in applying the Cleveland doctrine established by the United States Supreme Court, Cleveland v. Policy Mgmt., Sys. Corp. 526 U.S. 795, 806 (1999) denied Defendant’s motion and the case was allowed to proceed. The case later settled for $100,000 and was reported by The Daily Record, May 14, 2014 and by Verdict Search. Mr. Atkinson retained Pennsylvania Attorney, Michael Corcenzi, and Maryland Attorney, Morris E. Fischer to represent him in this case.
Staffing Alternatives, Inc. v. Marilyn Saunders, The Special Court of Appeals for Maryland, No. 0109
In March, 2015, my law office won an appeal in The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, making that the sixth different Appeals Court in which Morris E. Fischer, Esq. has prevailed. The case, Staffing Alternatives, Inc. v. Marilyn Saunders, No. 0109, dealt with a Maryland citizen first denied unemployment benefits for gross misconduct. The Circuit Court reversed and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the reversal, holding that an employee who surfed the internet at work a handful of times did not commit gross misconduct to deny benefits.
Sharma v. Howard County, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-02269-JKB
Amit Sharma, intellectual technology engineer, retained Morris E. Fischer, LLC, after discharging his first law firm to represent him against Howard County on claims including Violation of Electronic Communications Privacy Act, contending that Defendant obtained Plaintiff’s home computer password then hacked into it. Case settled for $50,000 and a positive letter of reference.
DiIenno v. Home Depot USA, Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, 1:14-cv-0400-RDB
John DiIenno, a Home Depot, district manager, brought a retaliation action against the company. Mr. DiIenno protested a new directive to district managers to hire or promote “one diverse and one female associate” into a department supervisory position in violation of Title VII. Case resolved for confidential settlement amount.
Melkus v. Department of Health and Human Services, M.S.P.B. Denver Field Office, Case No: DE-0752-10-0160-I-1
Tommy Melkus, a resident of Billings Montana was wrongfully terminated by the Department of Health and Human Services when he answered a directive from Secretary Head, Kathleen Sebelius, asking for suggestions to improve the agency. Mr. Melkus suggested that the department abandon its policy of Native American hiring preference. Mr. Melkus' comments were sharp and to the point and meant no long term racial animus in his comments. Mr. Melkus had a long standing history of tolerance for Native Americans, as he had been married to a Native American for a number of years and has two children that are Native Americans. The agency however claimed that Mr. Melkus could not carry out the agency's mission of racial tolerance.
The case represented a severe over reaction by the Health and Human Services agency which infringed upon Mr. Melkus' rights to free speech. He threatened no one and didn't place a single Native American or any other employee in any form of hostility. After the agency continually denied any wrong doing in terminating Mr. Melkus, on the day of hearing, at the EEOC building in Billings, Montana, the agency reached a confidential settlement agreement with Mr. Melkus and his attorney, Morris E. Fischer, Esq.
Our firm feels privileged to have represented Mr. Melkus on this case. Free speech is the cornerstone of liberty. For a federal employee to be terminated because of it, shuts down all logical and intelligent debate which may be necessary to move our nation forward. We are very grateful for Mr. Melkus for entrusting this matter with our law firm and for his wonderful accolades on our testimonial page.
Yvonne Glover v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Matter No. 558/05, Case # 1:10-cv-00007-LJB
Our client, Ms. Yvonne Glover, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") registered nurse, was wrongfully terminated for alleged patient abuse, when Ms. Glover removed a patient's clothing and forcibly removed the patient to a seclusion room. We challenged the removal pursuant to 38 U.S.C. §7462(c) and we obtained a two day trial before the VA's Disciplinary Appeals Board. Trial testimony revealed that Ms. Glover committed no such abuse and that she was instrumental in actually saving the patient from a potential suicide attempt. To see the decision, click here.
The VA delayed making a decision on this matter; and as such, our office then filed a claim against the VA in the United States Court of Federal Claims, for refusing to issue a decision. Soon after the federal court complaint was filed, the VA correctly ruled for Ms. Glover. The agency awarded her full reinstatement, complete back pay and provided her with an attorney fee application to recuperate her attorney fees. The discharge was ordered to be removed from her personnel file. The case was tried by Morris E. Fischer, Esq., in Durham, North Carolina. Please see Ms. Glover's client testimonial and recommendation of our office.
S.B. v. U.S. Navy, USN-C No. 12-04698 (security clearance matter, federal employee reinstated and security clearance revocation reversed)
An individual who had dual citizenship and over 20 years of government employment, was facing security clearance revocation. The client served as a Sparrow Missile aeronautical engineer and Sidewinder Missile AIM-9X surveillance and reliability engineer with the U.S. Navy for almost twenty years. After inheriting land and property in a foreign country, valued at over 1 million dollars, the client was facing charges of having questionable U.S. allegiance and exposure to coercive foreign influence. The attorneys at Morris E. Fischer, LLC, vigorously fought to prove this individual was not a threat to national security. They assisted in taking care of his foreign affairs, representing him before an Administrative Law Judge hearing, helped him to tie up loose ends in the country at issue and passionately represented him in challenging his security clearance revocation. The client was successfully reinstated to his position.
D.H. v. U.S. Navy, USN-C12-09096 (security clearance matter, federal employee reinstated and security clearance revocation reversed.)
Our firm successfully represented a U.S. Navy engineer with over 25 years of federal service who failed a drug test. We proved at the hearing that our client had no history of substance abuse except one isolated incident and that the failed drug test was the result of prescription medications the employee was taking at the time the drug test was administered, rather than because the employee was on heroin or other illegal substances.
Morin v. United States Postal Service, MSPB DC-0752-11-0876-I-1
A USPS Customer Services supervisor, Michael Morin, assigned to the Research Triangle Park Station in Durham, NC, with a history of discrimination complaints was targeted for termination and then removed from position. Our client was given a minute to minute schedule to follow each day that he could not possibly follow. Witness testimony at deposition confirmed that the grounds for termination were unjust and that other supervisors not disciplined had near identical issues. Case result: the Postal Service rescinded the termination, reimbursed all back pay and paid $18,750.
Rodney Payne v. Department of Commerce, 09-01808 (JEB)
Perhaps the most difficult discrimination cases to prove are failures to promote. The employer can simply structure the job criteria to favor the candidate of its pre-selection, then claim that the individual selected was most qualified by that preferred criteria.
Mr. Payne's case was no exception. In a case that was litigated for four years, the Department of Commerce finally settled after depositions. Mr. Payne performed superbly at his deposition, as he was able to utilize a number of deposition techniques described in Secrets to Your Top Recovery. Since having been promoted anyway, he was awarded all of his back pay and he was reimbursed 100% for his out of pocket attorney fees.
Christine Miller v. Countrywide Home Loans, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, Case No: 1:09-cv-01151-WDQ.
Plaintiff, Christine Miller, a loan officer for Countrywide was sexually harassed by her supervisor, who made physical contact with her on a number of occasions. The supervisor, who also had a drinking problem, routinely made daily sexual innuendos towards Ms. Miller. He also took away many job responsibilities from her, which impacted her ability to secure loans, thereby denying her significant commission opportunities. Ms. Miller retained Morris E. Fischer, LLC, who pushed the case through the EEOC and upon receiving a Right to Sue letter, filed a Sexual Harassment federal Complaint in the Federal District Court of Maryland. After several motions made by the Defendant to dismiss certain parts of Ms. Miller's claim proved unsuccessful, the company settled with Ms. Miller in a confidential settlement agreement negotiated by Morris Fischer and approved of by Ms. Miller. Please see our testimonial section for Christine Miller's testimonial and recommendation of our office.
Ann Mogenhan v. Janet Ann Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States Court of Appeals, For the District of Columbia Circuit, Case No. 08-5457
In an opinion written by Circuit Judge, Merrick Garland, recently considered for appointment to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, reversed the grant of Summary Judgment on Ms. Ann Mogenhan's retaliation claim. In doing so, the Court remanded the case back to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a jury trial. The appellate brief was drafted and orally argued by Morris E. Fischer, Esq.
Ms. Mogenhan who suffers from heat-triggered migraine headaches, contended that she was not adequately accommodated for her disability. In response, her supervisor increased her workload five to six times that of other employees, indicating that he was doing so to keep her too busy to file complaints. Ms. Mogenhan's supervisors also posted her EEO disability complaint on the Secret Service inranet, where her fellow employees could and did access it. We thank our client Ann Marie Mogenhan for entrusting her case with our firm and for the many referrals she has made to our office.
Mary J. Pietsch v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services Agency, Appeal No. 0120090933
Mary Jane Pietsch, a Project Officer with a government contractor at NIH, lived through untold despicable sexual harassment at the hands of a co-worker. The incidents included hacking into Ms. Pietsch's work computer, unwelcome embarrassing comments and disgraceful physical gestures. After complaining to NIH about the harassment, Ms. Pietsch was isolated in that she was relocated to an area of the work facility marked by horrible conditions. Soon after, Ms. Pietsch was given a termination letter at the direction of NIH. Having retained Morris E. Fischer, Esq., Ms. Pietsch brought action against the NIH for sexual harassment and retaliation. NIH dismissed the case, contending that Ms. Pietsch was not its employee and therefore was not liable to her. The Office of Federal Operations reversed, holding that NIH controlled Ms. Pietsch by exercising the power to terminate her services, thereby opening the door to liability against the agency. Click here to read the opinion
Jennifer Insalaco v. Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Jennifer Insalaco, a Special Education teacher with Anne Arundel County Public Schools, suffers from various neurologic conditions making it extremely difficult for her to go about life in the way most people do. Her physical limitations are very real, but when she advised her superiors at Anne Arundel County Public Schools, she was met with hostility and removed from her position. In defending its case against the EEOC, the school system never did explain to Ms. Insalaco the actual essential functions of her job that she could not perform with accommodation. After filing with the EEOC and being shuffled through the bureaucracy, Jennifer finally retained Morris E. Fischer, LLC to litigate her case. Mr. Fischer has relentlessly pursued justice on behalf of his client by submitting an EEOC rebuttal that wouldn't allow the employer to evade answering critical questions about the manner in which it treated Ms. Insalaco. On June 23, 2009, the EEOC found in favor of Ms. Insalaco on both her failure to accommodate and harassment claims. Click here and here to read the EEOC determinations.
Wendy A. Ramsay v. Mary E. Peters, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, Civil Action No: 1:08-cv-00596
Our firm successfully settled a major retaliation case against the United States Department of Transportation. Our client, Wendy A, Ramsay, was a highly successful program manager on a twelve month assignment for the agency's Federal Aviation Administration. Unfortunately, after she complained about gender discrimination, the agency blamed Ms. Ramsay for a host of work related issues, many centering upon a highly sophisticated training video, that the agency first contended was useless, but later kept for additional training seminars. In addition, the agency contended that several portions of Ms. Ramsay's website design for the agency were too complex, although she was never provided with an opportunity to scale it down. None of these problems were apparent prior to her discrimination complaints and she had received a cash bonus for her prior work.
The case was litigated in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, before the Hon. John D. Bates. A key point in the litigation occurred after the agency requested a mediation session to resolve the case before Federal Magistrate Judge Alan Kay. However, at mediation, the agency, after having Ms. Ramsay drive from her Binghamton, NY residence to attend the session, failed to increase its offer. Attorney, Morris E. Fischer, no fan of this kind of government litigation technique, immediately motioned the court for sanctions against the government for failing to negotiate in good faith. In response, the agency requested the mediation to continue and ultimately a rightful settlement was secured.
Texeira v. United States Postal Serv., 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 4335 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 28, 2008).
Morris E. Fischer, Esq. successfully appealed to the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, against the United States Postal Service in an M.S.P.B. decision which struck down a disciplinary decision against a U.S. Postal Service employee that had stripped her of management responsibility and demoted her to a part-time, entry level clerical position. The Court found that under the factors enumerated in Douglas v. Veterans Admin., 5 M.S.P.R. 280 (1981), this discipline far exceeded the only proven charge of Failure to Follow Proper Timekeeping Procedures. The firm would like to thank Ms. Judy Texeira, our client, of Modesto, California for entrusting and retaining our office for this appeal. Morris E. Fischer, Esq., drafted the appeal documents and orally argued the case at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. To read the decision, click here.
In Re, Estate of Barbara Davis
The Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals reversed the lower Washington, D.C. court, and helped settle several critical legal questions involving an inheritor's right to receive a will inheritance, then contest the validity of the same will. The case involved a will contest, in which the Appellant, our client, Gary Davis, contended that the will from which he ultimately received an inheritance was invalid due to undue influence over the testator. Mr. Davis later accepted his inheritance under the will, while still challenging it.
The Appellee claimed that Mr. Davis had forfeited his right to contest the will. Morris E. Fischer, argued the appeal on behalf of Mr. Davis and successfully convinced the three judge judicial panel that since no party was unduly prejudiced, meaning that no party suffered an irretrievable loss by Mr. Davis accepting monies under the will, the Appellant should have nonetheless had the right to contest it. The case involved the analysis of certain legal precedents, some over a hundred years old and the Court's decision helped provide clarity on this issue of law.
The Court also reversed the trial court that dismissed the case because Mr. Davis, who at the time had no lawyer and was unaware of a scheduling conference, missed it. Mr. Fischer argued that in truth, the Court had failed to send notice to Mr. Davis' correct address and as such, Mr. Davis had valid reasons for missing his conference. Following the dismissal, Mr. Davis retained Morris E. Fischer, LLC to argue the appeal. To read the decision, click here
Azikiwe et al v. Nigeria Airways Limited et al, 1:03-cv-06387-FB-CLP
Global Lawyering, a/k/a Fagbenle Attorneys, LLC, retained Morris E. Fischer, Esq., as counsel to assist in resolving a class action lawsuit filed in the United States Federal Court, Eastern District. The case centers upon conduct committed by Defendant Nigeria Airways for violations of charging improper baggage fees, false detention of passengers and Article 19 of the Warsaw Convention, an international treaty that dictates conduct standards for international airlines.
Said Kunle Fagbenle, Esq., President of Fagbenle Attorneys, LLC, "I have known Morris for more than five years. We've turned to Morris E. Fischer in this matter for his great breadth of litigation experience, having litigated cases in numerous states, his great integrity and common sense approach to law, which is an invaluable asset to this case."
Tony P. Welch v. John E. Potter, Postmaster General, U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia, Civil Action No. 7:06CV00069
Our client, an African American, was subject to numerous racial comments such as references to the African American who was dragged by a truck in Texas and repeatedly called "boy" by a manager who didn't recognize that term as racially offensive. When Mr. Welch complained to management, they either ignored him or advised him to work it out himself. Since this action involved both discrimination and the Merit Systems Protection Board, there were two cases filed by our office, each appealing an Administrative Judge's decision. The EEOC Administrative Judge originally ruled for Mr. Welch in the amount of only $14,000.00 for compensatory damages. After several rounds of initial aggressive litigation, the case settled against the United States Postal Service for discrimination and retaliation in the amount of $162,500.00. The settlement was reported by the Roanoke Times, on August 29, 2006.
Diane Williams v. Baltimore City Community College, et al, Case No. 1:12-cv-00238
Federal disability discrimination case brought on behalf of Maryland state employee, Diane Williams, who suffered from Keratoconus. Following FMLA leave after serious eye surgery, Defendant sent a letter to Plaintiff, compelling her return on October 31 or face termination. Plaintiff did not receive the letter until November 3, 2008 and discovery revealed an October 30 postmark. Defendant further attempted to manipulate its independent medical evaluation to mischaracterize Plaintiff's condition. Defendant moved for Summary Judgment, contending that Ms. Williams wasn't truly disabled. Morris E. Fischer, Esq. filed opposition and even without the aid or affidavit from Ms. Williams' eye surgeon, who refused to cooperate, defeated the State's motion (published opinion denying Summary Judgment, U.S. District Court Judge, George L. Russell, III). Defendant later settled at mediation for $80,000.
Gibbs, et al V. WMATA, United States District Court, District of Columbia, 1:12-cv-01388-CKK
Firm represented three Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ("WMATA") escalator and elevator mechanics in wrongful termination claims. Two were African-American and one was Asian-American in WMATA's Elevator/Escalator Department. Eye witness testimony established that these plaintiffs' manager exhibited racist tendencies, including socializing with Caucasian mechanics, but pointedly ignoring minority mechanics on his team. We exposed issues involving disparate performance evaluations, as the manager wrote a number of comments on the Caucasian employee evaluations such as, "has been a joy" and "good mechanic with a willingness and knowledge to teach other mechanics...I look forward to working with him." None of these kinds of comments were on the minority employees' evaluations. WMATA accused all three plaintiffs of fraudulently recording escalator comb-impact testing and terminated them accordingly. Our law firm successfully defeated WMATA's Summary Judgment motion to throw the case out before trial. In a 37 page published opinion, United States Federal Judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, held that notwithstanding a WMATA panel's finding that the Plaintiffs' errors were termination grounds, issues of fact existed as to whether the panel was influenced by the Plaintiffs' manager's decision to pursue termination on for reasons of fraud, given the evidence of the manager's racial hostility. Case settled shortly following the Summary Judgment denial.
Geib v. Peformance Food Group, United Stated District Court, District of Maryland, Case No. 13-cv-02674-GLR
We represent Jason Geib, a former warehouse manager for PFG. Mr. Geib complained about the lack of promotional opportunities for women at PFG and was later terminated. PFG contended poor performance. We contended that PFG had a ton of management and other issues well beyond Mr. Geib's control. The EEOC issued a determination of probable cause against PFG and the EEOC brought a class action of women against PFG. U.S. Federal Judge, George L. Russell, III, denied Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.