Labor & Employment

Burned Ex-Reed Smith Associate Back on Track for Trial After Appellate Win

An ex-associate who said her use of her dominant hand was impaired after it was burned during a Reed Smith trial training program is back in the litigation ballgame against her former employer.

A trial court in 2007 had dismissed the 2003 disability discrimination case that Danielle Cesarano brought against Reed Smith. It contended that the law firm did not accommodate her physiological condition and retaliated against her for complaining, but the judge, without reaching the merits, granted summary judgment to the firm on statute-of-limitations grounds.

Today the District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in part and remanded the case for trial, finding that it asserted a wrongful termination claim that was not time-barred, according to the Blog of Legal Times.

A copy of the court’s written opinion provided by the BLT explains that Cesarano alleges that the firm refused to provide the ergonomic accommodations (including computer software) that she requested and, by withholding billable work and telling her, via her supervisor, that she would be useful to Reed Smith only when she could bill 200 hours per month, refused to accommodate her medically documented need for a reduced work schedule.

Partner Jonathan Mook of DiMuro Ginsberg in Alexandria, Va., argued the appellate case for Reed Smith. He declined the BLT’s request for comment.

Cesarano, who is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, is represented by Webster Fredrickson Correia & Puth. She worked from 2000 to 2003 in Reed Smith’s office in Washington, D.C.

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