Crotty & Son Law Firm

Category Archive: news

  1. Maria McSwain v. World Fuel Services

    Leave a Comment

    Maria McSwain worked at World Fuel Services as a Senior Human Resources Generalist. She was also a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Throughout her employment at WFS she experienced discrimination when called to go on military reserve duty and retaliation when she complained that some of her fellow HR professionals were discriminating against her on account of her military service obligations.

    Ms. McSwain filed suit against WFS. WFS then counter-sued Ms. McSwain for repayment of certain military related leave benefits. Ms. McSwain then got court approval to amend her complaint to include WFS’s lawsuit against her as another instance of actionable retaliation.

    A copy of her Amended Complaint is available below.

    A copy of Ms. McSwain’s response to WFS’s summary judgment motion is available below.

    Below is the Court Order denying WFS’s motion to exclude Ms. McSwain’s economic loss expert from testifying.

    The case is set for trial in February 2023.

  2. Valentine Fertitta v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Leave a Comment

    Valentine Fertitta is an FBI agent and an officer in the US Marine Corps Reserves. He is also a veteran of the Iraq war. While serving in Iraq he was injured by an explosion. In late-2020 Mr. Fertitta’s service-related medical conditions began to manifest. This caused him to miss work in order to go on military duty to be treated for his service related injuries. The FBI, apparently not liking the fact that Mr. Fertitta was missing work, retaliated by (among many things) ordering him to do FBI work while on military reserve duty, not forwarding his Primary Relief Supervisor application to the local career board (even though Agency policy gave his managers no discretion to hold the application back), ranking him as an “inconsistent performer,” and then ultimately placing him in charge of a unit 49 miles from his home – – – an act that led a (now retired) FBI Agent to remark “who did you piss off.”

    A copy of Mr. Fertitta’s whistleblower complaint is embedded below.

  3. Elisabeth White v. ManTech International Corp.

    Leave a Comment

    ManTech International is federal government contractor who earns most of its money from the American taxpayer. ManTech employed Elisabeth White as a Product Assurance Specialist. Ms. White was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Ms. White left ManTech’s employment to serve in the military. Months before her honorable discharge from the Air Force Ms. White contacted ManTech so she could return to work. ManTech gave her the run-around, forcing her to apply for work for numerous jobs at the company even though USERRA requires that a company re-employ a returning  veteran within, at the most, 14 days of requesting to return to work, and do so without having to make the returning veteran apply for work as if he or she was just starting out with the company. After months of getting the run-around ManTech finally offered Ms. White a job that, initially, paid her less than what she was making before going on military duty.

    Ms. White exercised her right to address ManTech’s failure to properly re-employ her by contacting the U.S. Department of Labor/VETS to make a USERRA claim. Shortly after contacting the DOL/VETS ManTech rescinded its employment offer to Ms. White.

    A copy of Ms. White’s USERRA lawsuit is below.

  4. Kristi Horn v. U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Leave a Comment

    The USDA employed Ms. Horn for over 12 years. Up until early-2020, Ms. Horn had satisfactory (or better) performance reviews. That all changed when Ms. Horn got a new second level supervisor took. Whenever Ms. Horn would raise an issue relating to one of her many disabilities that supervisor would discipline her. Ultimately, the USDA fired Ms. Horn. On January 31, 2022, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) reversed the USDA’s firing of Ms. Horn, found that the USDA violated Ms. Horn’s due process rights in firing her, and ordered that she be reinstated with her lost wages being reimbursed.

    A copy of the MSPB’s order is available below.

  5. Eric Schwartz v. Rampart Aviation, et. al.

    Leave a Comment

    Rampart Aviation, LLC is a federal government contractor. Rampart employed Eric Schwartz, an officer in the US Navy Reserves. In late-September/early-October 2020 Mr. Schwartz complained to company management that the company’s delaying of his promotion and training on account of his military service violated USERRA. Days after making that complaint Rampart grounded Mr. Schwartz from flying. And, shortly thereafter Rampart fired Mr. Schwartz.

    A copy of Mr. Schwartz’s lawsuit is available here.

  6. Christianne Lauria v. Financial Forum & Jeffrey Comstock

    Leave a Comment

    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.

  7. Justin Carlile v. Waste Connections

    Leave a Comment

    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.

  8. Edward Cancilla v. Sandia National Laboratories

    Leave a Comment

    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.

  9. Charles Graham v. HNI Hospitalists of Idaho

    Leave a Comment

    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.

  10. Demarco Adderley v. Spokane County et al

    Leave a Comment

    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 resolved shortly before trial.