Disability Discrimination

Early last month, a federal jury in the Southern District of Iowa awarded a $240 million verdict to 32 mentally disabled men that suffered through years of slave-like employment in a turkey slaughterhouse operated by Henry’s Turkey Service, also known as Hill Country Farms.  Hill Country, a Texas based company, operated the slaughterhouse in Iowa and had been employing mentally disabled men for over four decades.  Hill Country offered room and board in an old schoolhouse without central heat.  Room and board was part of the employment benefits and calculated as earnings on top of the $2 per day salary.  Supervisors that cared for the employees doled out verbal abuse, occasional physical abuse, and manual labor as punishment.  The civil trial uncovered one such instance when an employee was handcuffed to his bed and left screaming and crying.[1]

Minnesota Wrongful Termination Attorneys

The $240 million verdict was awarded after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proved harassment and discrimination violations of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The award granted each of the 32 men about $5.5 million in compensatory damages, plus $2 million as punitive damages because Hill Country acted with malice or reckless indifference.  Unfortunately, Hill Country “is believed to have no more than $4 million in assets, and… damages awarded by the jury go ‘well beyond’ what is allowed by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.”[2]  The EEOC attorney, Robert Canino, said, “I can tell you the EEOC is going to explore every option, and with great diligence, to ascertain every possible source of revenue… to satisfy the judgment.”[3]  Hill Country is also liable for over $4 million in fines for violating federal, and state, labor and wage laws.

And so, the mentally disabled ex-employees of Hill Country savored sweet justice for all of about two weeks.  [click to continue…]

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In November 2012, Madia Law sued a Twin Cities accounting firm on behalf of a learning disabled accountant. The young accountant, who has suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) since he was a child, disclosed his disability to his supervisor at the time of his first performance evaluation.

 

Despite being fully capable of being successful at the job, the young man wanted to be sure his supervisor knew that he thinks, learns, and works in a different way than others, particularly since he noticed a few comments on his evaluation that seemed to signal a concern with the way he processed information and executed tasks. The accountant felt that it would help everyone involved to be aware of his slight disability. But, soon after disclosing his disability and requesting slight accommodation, he was fired.  [click to continue…]

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Minnesota Lawyer covered Madia Law’s recent $1.3 million jury verdict in it’s October issue.  The front-page article includes excerpts of interviews with Ashwin Madia and Susan Gaertner.

 


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After a two week trial, a Carver County jury awarded Madia law client Dr. Sam Deweese nearly $1.3M in damages from his former clinic.

Dr. Deweese worked as a family practice physician for nearly twenty years at his clinic and earned high praise from his patients.  He devoted his entire working life to the institution, committed himself to a high standard of excellence in his profession, and committed a large capital contribution in order to secure his partnership.  Dr. Deweese alleged that his clinic’s relationship with him changed after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in summer 2007.

Read More . . .

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As published in the Harvard Law & Policy Review, Kevin M. Clermont & Stewart J. Schwab observed that from 1979-2006, plaintiffs bringing employment law matters (discrimination, wrongful termination, etc) in federal court won only 15% of the time. When paired with the observation that plaintiffs in non job-related matters won 51% of the time, that 15% figure is stunning. Questions as to why there is such an imbalance in employment law compared to other areas of law have been the focus of many journalists, lawyers and academics. But for attorneys who represent plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, there is one key factor worth focusing on: properly preparing a case to survive motions for dismissal, particularly summary judgement motions.

http://www.hlpronline.com/Vol3.1/Clermont-Schwab_HLPR.pdf

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Minnesota Employment, Wrongful Termination Lawyers

Dear Friends,

It’s been 3 years since Madia Law opened and I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to represent so many good and decent people going through tough times. I hope and believe that we’ve changed many lives for the better.

Madia Law has taken on slumlords who subjected their tenants to awful living conditions; a municipality that unlawfully forced a police officer to resign after learning of his sexual orientation; a Fortune 100 company that discharged a long time employee in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; a police department that maced, tased, kicked, and arrested a young man who was doing nothing more than barbecuing with his family; and many more. Through it all, I’ve been humbled to represent some of the bravest and most decent individuals that I’ve ever met.

New MadiaLaw.com Website!

Madia LawFor our three year anniversary, we’ve expanded and updated the Madia Law website to hopefully provide more information to people looking for help with employment litigation and broader civil rights issues.  I hope that the new website will be a strong resource for individuals who need quick information and will encourage them to seek further consultation and actual legal advice.

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Minneapolis Disability Discrimination Lawyers

Wandersee v. Farmers State Bank (D. Minn. 2012):  A federal district court in Minnesota denied summary judgment to Farmers State Bank in a disability discrimination case under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Minnesota Human Rights Act brought by Karin Wandersee, a longtime employee who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

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A Carver County District Court judge ruled against Lakeview Clinic’s motion for summary judgment and held that Madia Law client Dr. Sam Deweese should be allowed to proceed to trial on each of the seven counts pled in his complaint.

Dr. Deweese worked as a family practice physician for nearly twenty years at Lakeview and earned high praise from his patients.  He devoted his entire working life to the institution, committed himself to a high standard of excellence in his profession, and committed a large capital contribution in order to secure his partnership.  Dr. Deweese alleges that Lakeview’s relationship with him changed after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in summer 2007.

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“Jill” (name changed for confidentiality) worked at a large corporation for nearly twenty years as a maintenance worker and excelled. However, she injured her back on the job and needed medical attention. Ultimately, her doctor gave her work restrictions stating that she could not lift, push, or pull more than 40 pounds. She continued working at her position, with her restrictions, and continued to excel.

One morning, her employer called her into a meeting and told her that she was terminated because her medical restrictions prevented her from performing the essential functions of her position.

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Minnesota Employment, Wrongful Termination Lawyers

Dear Friends,

I am excited to inform you that I am starting a new business venture, Madia Law LLC – a dynamic and aggressive law firm that will serve Minnesota individuals and small businesses.

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