Crotty & Son Law Firm

Category Archive: news

  1. Christianne Lauria v. Financial Forum & Jeffrey Comstock

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    Financial Forum hired Ms. Lauria in August 2018 as a Wealth Management Associate. At that time Ms. Lauria had substantial domestic and international financial and wealth management experience as well as an MBA from St. John’s University. Financial Forum offered her a $41,600/year take it or leave it salary. From August 2018 through early 2020 Ms. Lauria received routine pay raises and performance bonuses. Her personnel file contains no evidence of poor workplace performance.


    In May 2020 Ms. Lauria learned that Financial Forum hired a 22-year-old white male as a financial advisor, allowed said advisor to negotiate his starting salary, and paid that male advisor $58,000/year.  Ms. Lauria confronted the company’s owner over this disparity to which the company’s owner replied that the younger male was “exactly what [he] was looking for: a good clean all-American white boy.”  Ms. Lauria called this out as gender discrimination to which the owner replied “don’t jump on the bandwagon of #MeToo and feminism.”


    In August 2020 the company denied Ms. Lauria’s promised pay raise and bonus.  On September 25, 2020, Ms. Lauria again complained to the company’s owner of her unequal treatment.  On September 29, 2020, Financial Forum fired Ms. Lauria.


    A copy of Ms. Lauria’s complaint is available here.

  2. Justin Carlile v. Waste Connections

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    Waste Connections employed Justin Carlile beginning in May 2019. It promoted Mr. Carlile in February 2020. From May 2019 through June 2021 Mr. Carlile had no documented performance problems. That all changed in mid-June 2021 when Mr. Carlile, for the first time, took leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Mr. Carlile’s FMLA ran from June 15, 2021 through July 12, 2021. On July 12, 2021 (the day he returned from FMLA) Waste Connections put Mr. Carlile on a performance improvement plan and, weeks later, fired Mr. Carlile.


    Mr. Carlile subsequently sued Waste Connections for violating the FMLA and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. A copy of Mr. Carlile’s complaint is available here.

  3. Edward Cancilla v. Sandia National Laboratories

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    Mr. Cancilla began working for Sandia in 2010. In 2013 the U.S. Navy Reserves called Mr. Cancilla to active duty. In late-2016 Mr. Cancilla contacted Sandia and requested to return to work as his military leave was coming to an end. Although USERRA regulations require an employer to re-employ a returning veteran promptly, Sandia did not re-employ Mr. Cancilla until February 2018 and that was only after Mr. Cancilla asked to return to work numerous times in the intervening 15 months and having complained to the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve. A copy of Mr. Cancilla’s USERRA failure to re-employ claim is here.

  4. Charles Graham v. HNI Hospitalists of Idaho

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    Dr. Charles Graham worked for HNI as a Physician and Medical Director beginning in early-2020. In mid-2020 Dr. Graham requested workplace leave to address a disability. Upon returning from medical leave Dr. Graham asked that management limit his shift work because that is what his disability accommodation required. HNI’s management denied Dr. Graham’s requests, and then ostracized Dr. Graham, and then fired Dr. Graham within days of Dr. Graham raising issues about patient care.


    HNI requires its employees to sign arbitration agreements which, in turn, deprive those employees of having their cases decided by a jury of their peers. A copy of Dr. Graham’s arbitration complaint is available here.  A copy of Dr. Graham’s charge of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is available here.


    The case has resolved.

  5. Demarco Adderley v. Spokane County et al

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    Demarco Adderley worked as a prison guard for Spokane County. He is black. Travis Titchenal worked as a prison guard for Spokane County. He is white. Both individuals left the employment of the Spokane County Detention Services to work elsewhere. Both returned to Spokane County Detention Services, did so within one week of each other, and made their return to work request through the same supervisor. That supervisor did not require the white employee to officially re-apply/re-test and granted the white employee his seniority. The same supervisor required Mr. Adderley to reapply and re-test for work and did not give Mr. Adderley his seniority.


    Mr. Adderley then complained to his union about this unequal treatment but the union took no action.


    Since the union took no action to help Mr. Adderley and since the County would not give Mr. Adderley the seniority it gave his white co-worker Mr. Adderley brought suit.  During the lawsuit it was discovered that a memorandum existed between the union and County regarding the granting of the white employee’s return to work request but that the same memo had been lost. Mr. Adderley has made a request that the Court find that the “loss” of the memo be held against the defendants at the trial.


    The case is set for trial in June 2021.

  6. Nickolas Tsui v. Walmart, Inc.

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    Mr. Tsui, an Army Reservist, sued Walmart for failing to pay short term military leave given the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Right’s Act’s (USERRA) requirement that companies pay short term military leave in the event the company pays for comparable short term leaves like jury duty, sick leave, and/or bereavement leave.  Mr. Tsui brought a class action lawsuit against Walmart.

    Subsequently Walmart agreed to settle the lawsuit.  On April 30, 2021, the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted Mr. Tsui’s motion to preliminarily certify the class action.  A copy of the preliminary approval order is available here.  The court is scheduled to approve the class action settlement on October 14, 2021, at 12:00 PM EST.  The hearing will be via video teleconference. Information on accessing the hearing is available here.

    On October 15, 2021, the Court approved the settlement.

  7. Christie Jimenez v. Holbrook Plastic Pipe Supply, Inc.

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    From May 2009 through mid-2017 Christie Jimenez worked for Holbrook Plastic Pipe. In mid-2017 she told her boss that she was joining the Army. From May 2017 through May 2020 Ms. Jimenez served in the Army. Following her honorable discharge she asked to return to work at Holbrook Plastic Pipe but her request for re-employment was denied. Since the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA) requires employers to give returning veterans their job back Ms. Holbrook brought suit in the Eastern District of New York for the company’s failure to re-employ her. A copy of her complaint and the Court’s order waiving the USERRA filing fee are available here and here.  A copy of Ms. Jimenez’s amended complaint is available here.

  8. Edward Mier v. Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co.

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    From 2014 through 2018 Ed Mier enjoyed a fruitful career at Mutual of Enumclaw (MoE). He was timely promoted, received pay increases, and obtained good (if not great) performance reviews. But that all changed once he opposed his boss’s repeated desires to discipline fellow co-workers who took leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. Mr. Mier’s final opposition to his boss’s FMLA discrimination happened in January 2019. A week later Mr. Mier had his performance review.  At that review his boss told him that “it makes my blood boil when people go to HR”, among other things. And in April 2019 MoE fired Mr. Mier on trumped up conflict of interest charges. A copy of Mr. Mier’s FMLA retaliation, wrongful discharge, and breach of contract lawsuit is available here.   Mr. Mier amended his complaint, a copy of which is available here.

  9. Justin Baker v. United Parcel Service

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    Justin Baker works for UPS. On March 16, 2021, he filed class action USERRA complaint against his employer for failing to pay short term military leave given USERRA’s requirement that companies pay short term military leave in the event the company pays for comparable short term leaves like jury duty, sick leave, and/or bereavement leave. A few days later, on March 22, 2021, Mr. Baker suffered a workplace injury and, per policy, requested Temporary Alternate Work (TAW).  UPS denied Mr. Baker’s TAW request even though three other similarly-situated co-workers were receiving that same benefit at the same time of Mr. Baker’s injury. Mr. Baker then brought a USERRA retaliation claim against UPS a copy of which is available here.

  10. Patrick Fleetwood v. Washington State University

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    Patrick Fleetwood was a WSU student and member of the school’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. During the late – 2018 timeframe he had a consensual intimate relationship with another WSU student. That student subsequently accused him of sexual harassment which, in turn, led to WSU disciplining him and ROTC kicking him out of the military.

    Mr. Fleetwood subsequently sued WSU claiming that its finding that he harassed and retaliated against the accuser lacked substantial evidence, wrongfully interfered with his ROTC contract, was reverse gender discrimination under state and federal law, and that WSU’s policies violated the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    A copy of Mr. Fleetwood’s complaint is available here.

    Copies of Mr. Fleetwood’s petition to reverse WSU’s findings of harassment and retaliation are available here and here.

    On September 14, 2021, the Whitman County Superior Court reversed WSU’s findings that Mr. Fleetwood harassed and retaliated against the accuser and interfered with use of the student conduct system. A copy of the Court’s order is attached here.