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Michelman & Robinson Obtains Victory by Unanimous Verdict in Disability Harassment Lawsuit

January 22, 2009

Michelman & Robinson, LLP’s (“M&R”) renowned litigation practice group recently won a victory by unanimous verdict in a disability harassment lawsuit in defense of insurance giant, GGIS Insurance Services, Inc. (“GGIS”).

As one of California’s foremost experts in employment litigation, M&R was retained by GGIS to represent the insurance agency in a suit brought by five former employees alleging wrongful termination on the basis of disability, disability discrimination, among other claims. These claims brought by plaintiffs who were either laid off after a massive downturn in business or fired due to cause, left GGIS vulnerable to serious liability.

Led by partners Mona Hanna and Eric Rans, M&R’s experienced litigation team quickly eliminated all of the claims against GGIS except disability harassment by successfully winning a summary judgment motion in the early stages of the suit. The remaining plaintiffs sought almost $300,000 each, as damages for alleged verbal harassment from their GGIS supervisor regarding their disabilities.

Following its summary judgment victory, M&R exposed significant weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case, ultimately swaying the jury to find in GGIS’s favor. During M&R’s scrutinizing cross-examination, the plaintiffs admitted that they had no documentation regarding any alleged harassment despite conceding that there was an internal grievance procedure and that each of them knew how to utilize it. In fact, none of the plaintiffs who claimed or reported any alleged harassment either before or immediately after their termination documented it, despite several opportunities to do so. One of M&R’s key pieces of evidence was a worker’s comp questionnaire filled out by one of the plaintiffs after his termination in which he sought a stress related injury from his former employer, but in the section requesting information regarding any harassment by a supervisor, left that section completely blank. Plaintiffs failed to give any explanation for this critical piece of evidence.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trial. We worked diligently as a team to create and execute a strategy that would secure the best results for our client,” said Mona Hanna, Managing Partner, Orange County Office and Head of the Litigation Practice Group.