In the 1980's . . . defense counsel often did not ask the court for summary judgment . . . suddenly the judicial attitude was to permit only the most perfect cases to go to the jury.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 30, 2015
Appeals Printer Supreme Court Press has named Dharma Agrawal v. Carlo Montemagno, John Bryan and the University of Cincinnati, Supreme Court Docket No. 14-719, to be its Petition of the Month(TM). The petition asks the question: Has the federal system quietly barred the courts to employment discrimination claims? Given the growing number of Supreme Court petitions addressing this question, the canary in the coalmine may already have been dead for quite a while. The Agrawal petition stakes this claim, arguing that the Sixth Circuit has built a summary judgment firewall that is not permitting cases with genuine issues of fact to go to the jury. Rather, the case argues, Sixth Circuit judges are dismissive of claims, analyzing them piecemeal, refusing to evaluate them as patterns of continuous conduct. According to counsel of record Robert Gutzwiller, "In the 1980's . . . defense counsel often did not ask the court for summary judgment, because plaintiffs’ usually had a showing that the defense saw as factually significant. . . . Many cases also settled, often with District Court encouragement. Time passed into the 1990s, especially after Congress passed the 1991 Civil Rights Act., and suddenly the judicial attitude was to permit only the most perfect cases to reach the jury."
According to the petition, the Petitioner Dr. Dharma Agrawal is a decorated computer scientist who was recruited with an enticing package of compensation and resources to the University of Cincinnat. However, the University later had regrets, and reduced his research budget, the number of graduate students he could hire, allocated him a smaller office, etc. The Sixth Circuit deemed these actions not to be a taking of property and held they could not be viewed as an adverse job action, this despite the Supreme Court's ruling in Burlington North. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White which held that reassigning a person to less desirable job assignment was an adverse job action. The Sixth Circuit also held that he Complaint was defective because it simply stated the facts, and did not use the legal term "hostile work environment," despite the complaint's description of numerous factors that a reasonable person would deem to be hostile. According to Mr. Gutzwiller, the granting of summary judgment because a complaint does not have the exact words "hostile environment" constitutes a “form over substance” proposition.
Guzwiller and his co-counsel David Clodfelter were kind to offer words of praise for their experience with the Supreme Court Press. Mr. Clodfelter states, "The Supreme Court Press editorial process was impressive, and their conceptual and legal suggestions during the drafting process were invaluable in completing the petition in a timely and effective fashion." To read more about the interview with Mr. Gutzwiller and Mr. Clodfelter, follow this link: http://www.supremecourtpress.com/Petition-of-the-Month/DharmaAgrawal-Petition-Jan-2015.html
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About the Petition of the Month(TM) : The Supreme Court Press’ Petition of the Month(TM) program recognizes applicants to the Supreme Court with well-written petitions for writ of certiorari that address important questions of law. We look for cases that meet the criteria of Rule 10 of the United States Supreme Court – important issues where the underlying decision is in conflict with the Supreme Court, another Court of Appeals, or the United States Constitution. If you have a pending petition that you believe is worthy of Petition of the Month(TM) advice, you can email us at editor(at)supremecourtpress(dot)com
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