It’s a tactic long used by defendants in both civil and criminal cases. From charges of rape to sexual harassment, men take the stand and point the finger at their female victims. Claiming that they “asked for it,” or that they “wanted it,” such men have often found sympathetic audiences in judges and juries.
In three recent and sensational examples (one in Iowa, one in Minnesota, and one in Arizona), Defendants’ attempts to use the “blame her defense” have yielded strikingly different results. While the cases are very different, both legally and factually, they serve as fascinating examples of a kind of defense that, despite such protections as Title VII and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, female victims must continue to grapple with.
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…]
For the first time in almost forty years, Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate of the Minnesota Legislature for the previous two sessions. Despite the veto power of Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL), Minnesota Republicans made significant strides in the latest sessions–including placement on the ballot of the proposed Voter-ID and anti gay marriage amendments. Whether Republicans retain those majorities in November may have a significant impact on the direction of labor/employment law and various civil rights matters in the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions.
MinnPost photo by James Nord
If the Republicans do retain majorities in both houses, one thing to expect is that Minnesota will join the likes of Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma in having its voters decide on a “right to work” amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.
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.
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.
Tuesday’s decision in Perry v. Brown (the “Prop 8” case) means that roughly one year from now, it is likely that the United States Supreme Court will be giving its opinion on the now infamous 2008 ballot proposition that resulted in barring Californian gay couples from joining in marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy will ultimately decide the fate of millions of gay people who wish to join in the civil institution of marriage, and his opinion will likely have a significantly broader impact on cases involving sexual orientation discrimination.
The law firm of Madia Law LLC is located in Minneapolis, MN and represents employees throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, including: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Eagan, Woodbury, White Bear Lake, Richfield, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Vadnais Heights, Blaine, St. Cloud, Lakeville, Shakopee, Prior Lake, Burnsville, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Carver County, Washington County, Dakota County, Scott County, and Stearns County.