By: Daily Record Staff//April 4, 2013
By: Daily Record Staff//April 4, 2013//
U.S. District Court, WDNY
Muhammad v. Wal-Mart Stores East LP
Background: In an action for employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII, the district court had ordered the plaintiff’s counsel to show cause why sanctions should not be levied for counsel’s misrepresentations to the court. The plaintiff had originally filed pro se, and in doing so, failed to allege racial discrimination. When plaintiff’s counsel was hired, plaintiff’s counsel did not attempt to amend the complaint concerning the racial discrimination. In response to the defendant’s summary judgment motion, plaintiff’s counsel argued for a gender discrimination claim.
Ruling: The District Court sanction plaintiff’s counsel. The court found that plaintiff’s counsel has, in the past, pursued meritless claims. The court also found that, while “loose pleading” may be permitted before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it was not her as the plaintiff had retained counsel and was no longer before the EEOC. Further, despite the pro se character of the complaint, no attorney could have read and concluded, in good faith, that it pleaded a claim of gender discrimination.
Christina A. Agola and Steven LaPrade for the plaintiff; Michael S. Hanan of Fox Rothschild for the defendant