Lack of Legal Research in FMLA Case Costs Company an Extra $80K

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Because an in-house lawyer didn’t research whether a pregnant worker was covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act before her employer fired her, a federal judge has doubled a jury verdict and awarded an additional $80,000 or so to the plaintiff.

Senior U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro said the lack of legal research negated the showing of good faith required under the federal statute to negate an award of liquidated damages, according to the Legal Intelligencer and the Jan. 21 written opinion (PDF) in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case.

The total award to the plaintiff, including interest, was a little over $160,000.

Shapiro also awarded more than $145,000 in legal fees to attorney Eliot Platt. He represented the plaintiff, Melissa Brown.

Attorney Alan Epstein of Spector Gadon & Rosen represented the defendant employer, Nutrition Management Services Co. He says post-trial motions and an appeal, if necessary, are planned.

Related material:

U.S. Department of Labor: “Family and Medical Leave Act”

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