Davis Malm shareholder Gary Feldman earned a substantial victory for his employer clients from the Supreme Judicial Court on April 13, 2009. In a precedent-setting decision (click here to read the SJC decision) written by Chief Justice Marshall, the unanimous Court set aside a multimillion dollar handicap discrimination award, ruling that the Superior Court never had jurisdiction to hear the case. The SJC consequently ordered the Superior Court to dismiss the case entirely against Davis Malm’s clients. In this action, the plaintiff, a former employee, alleged that Davis Malm’s clients failed to reinstate him in 1999 in violation of state and federal law because they regarded him as mentally ill.

Davis Malm, engaged by the employers only after the Superior Court judgment had entered, convinced the SJC to completely nullify the prior jury trial. The firm argued that the Superior Court never had subject matter jurisdiction because no MCAD charge as to the 1999 failure to rehire was filed and that an earlier charge the plaintiff filed in 1997 complaining about his discriminatory termination did not suffice to give the Superior Court jurisdiction over the 1999 claims.

For more information contact: Joanne Thorud; (617) 589-3894; jthorud@davismalm.com

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