Results

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CRAIG D. HANSON v. KITSAP COUNTY, ET. AL.

U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington

Case No. 13-cv-05388

Matt and Tom represent 1SG Craig Hanson, an employee with the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office. The Army National Guard mobilized Mr. Hanson in 2009 for deployment to Iraq.  After Mr. Hanson departed the County hired two workers into Mr. Hanson’s Fire Marshal job.  Upon Mr. Hanson’s return to work in 2012, the County refused to give Mr. Hanson the proper job back.  Instead the County left Mr. Hanson in the unenviable position of begging for his job back from the people that the County hired to replace him during his military absence.  Mr. Hanson contacted the Employer Support for Guard and Reserve (ESGR) but the County refused to meaningfully work with the ESGR in aiding Mr. Hanson’s return to work.  Instead the County retaliated against Mr. Hanson by refusing to let him conduct inspections, reducing his hours, and telling co-workers and customers to refrain from writing favorable reference letters on Mr. Hanson’s behalf.  A copy of Mr. Hanson’s complaint is available here.  A copy of Mr. Hanson’s motion to waive the federal filing fee is available here.  A copy of Mr. Hanson’s motion for partial summary judgment as to the issue of liability is available here.  The Court granted liability on Mr. Hanson’s behalf as to Mr. Hanson’s USERRA retirement benefit claim. A copy of the Court’s decision, the first known published decision relating to a court finding an employer at fault for violating USERRA’s 12 month look-back pension calculation provision, is available here. From August 18, 2014 to August 25, 2014, a jury trial occurred in the case.  The trial resulted in a hung jury.  The retrial on the case is set for March 3, 2015. Mr. Hanson won the re-trial in which the jury found that Kitsap County willfully violated Mr. Hanson’s USERRA rights.

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JAMES TUTEN v. UNITED AIR LINES, INC.

U.S. District Court, District of Colorado

Case No. 12-cv-01561

Matt and Tom have teamed up with the Cohen Milstein lawfirm and attorney Robert Mitchell to litigate a class action against United Air Lines on behalf of military personnel who were denied various benefits in violation of USERRA. Briefly stated, USERRA requires that (in certain instances) companies with pension plans base pension contributions on the average hours servicemembers worked the year prior to that servicemember’s military leave of absence.  From 2000 to 2010 United Air Lines based its pension contributions for military leave pilots on a fixed hourly amount that, in many instances, was less than the average hours those military pilots worked the year prior to going on military leave. An in depth explanation of the issue is available here.

United agreed to resolve the lawsuit for $6.15 million.  On August 14, 2013, Mr. Tuten, the class representative, asked the federal court for the District of Colorado to  approve the class action settlement agreement.  Copies of the settlement agreement, motion for class certification, and information about the proposed notices for class members are available here and here.  On May 20, 2014, the federal court for the District of Colorado, issued its order approving the $6.15 million settlement.  A press release regarding the largest reported settlement in the history of USERRA is available here.

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SHAWN T. WIGERT v. 1ST CLASS SECURITY, INC., ET. AL.

U.S. District Court, District of Montana

Case No. 6:13-cv-00038-DLC-RKS

Shawn Wigert worked for 1st Class Security, Inc. as a Site Supervisor from 2009 until 2012.  As Site Supervisor Mr. Wigert supervised 25 people and was charged with coordinating guard shifts at an installation owned by the Montana Army National Guard.  During his tenure as Site Supervisor he never had any performance issues.  In 2012 Mr. Wigert deployed to Afghanistan with the Montana Army National Guard.  Mr. Wigert safely returned from Afghanistan in early 2013 and asked for his Site Supervisor job back.  1st Class Security’s owners refused to reemploy Mr. Wigert.  Mr. Wigert contacted the Employer Support for Guard and Reserve (ESGR) in order to get the issue resolved. The ESGR was unable to convince 1st Class Security to properly reemploy Mr. Wigert.  Matt and Tom have teamed up to litigate the case. A copy of Mr. Wigert’s complaint is available here.  The case successful resolved prior to trial.

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MARK BELTON v. PAGE COUNTY, VA & HALIFAX COUNTY, VA

U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia

Case No. 4:13 CV 10 & 5:13 CV 24

Mark Belton, a Rear Admiral (Upper Half) in the U.S. Navy Reserve, worked as the County Administrator for Page County, Virginia.  In 2012 Page County chose not to renew Mr. Belton’s employment contract.  The reason it gave was that the County did not like Mr. Belton’s military related absences.  Needing to find work, Mr. Belton applied for a County Administrator job at Halifax County, Virginia.  Mr. Belton made it to the final round of interviews but was told, in writing, by Halifax County that he did not get the job because the County feared that his military reserve obligations would take him away from work too often. Matt, Tom, and attorney Robert Mitchell, along with the General Counsel P.C. law office represented Mr. Belton in both lawsuits.  Mr. Belton’s Complaints can be viewed here Belton v. Halifax Co., Virginia and here Belton v. Page Co., Virginia

Shortly after filing suit Halifax County agreed to resolve the case.  Page County answered Mr. Belton’s Complaint.  Mr. Belton moved to strike the majority of Page County’s defenses to Mr. Belton’s complaint as those defenses did not comport with the USERRA law.  Following Mr. Belton’s motion to strike Page County asked the court to mediate the case.  At mediation Page County agreed to settle Mr. Belton’s case for $110,000.

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LYLE WIXOM v. IMCO GENERAL CONSTRUCTION, INC.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington

Case No. 12-cv-413-LRS

Matt, Tom, and attorney Robert Mitchell represented Mr. Wixom in a USERRA action that Mr. Wixom filed against his former employer, IMCO Construction Company.

In June 2008 Mr. Wixom, a laborer for IMCO and Private First Class in the Washington Army National Guard, was mobilized for two months of military duty. The military honorably discharged Mr. Wixom, Mr. Wixom asked to go back to work at IMCO, but IMCO said no work was available.  Mr. Wixom filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor VETS.  The DOL found that Mr. Wixom’s claim had merit.  Mr. Wixom subsequently filed suit against IMCO.  A copy of Mr. Wixom’s Complaint can be viewed here.

Mr. Wixom filed papers asking the Court to rule, as a matter of law, that IMCO broke the USERRA law by not rehiring him. The Court denied Mr. Wixom’s request and based its denial, in part, on IMCO’s argument that it had no record of Mr. Wixom’s application for reemployment.  But during the discovery process IMCO admitted that it destroyed all job applications from 2008 – - – an admission that contradicted the position it took before the court.  Mr. Wixom moved for sanctions against IMCO.  Before the Court ruled on the sanctions motion IMCO agreed to settle the case for $140,000.

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CHRISTOPHER JONES v. MARRIOTT HOTEL SERVICES, INC. & MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC.

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Case No. 12-cv-00587-WHA

Matt and Tom represented Mr. Jones, a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, in a USERRA action that Mr. Jones filed against his former employer Marriott. Mr. Jones worked at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis as a Banquet Chef, left for military duty in mid-2008, and returned from military duty in late-2009.  During Mr. Jones’ deployment Marriott eliminated Mr. Jones’ position and, upon Mr. Jones’ return, refused to hire him back.  Marriott argued that the 2008 economic down-turn justified its actions.  Mr. Jones filed suit against Marriott. A copy of Mr. Jones’ Complaint can be viewed here.

After filing suit Mr. Jones and Marriott cross-moved for summary judgment adjudication of the case.  Mr. Jones’ Motion for Summary Judgment sets out the facts and legal argument in support of Mr. Jones’ case as does Mr. Jones’ Summary Judgment Reply Brief.  The Court heard oral argument on both parties’ motions and a copy of that hearing’s transcript is available here.  The Court’s Order on the Motions for Summary Judgment is available here. The Reserve Officers Association also wrote a piece on the Marriott case which is available here.  Mr. Jones subsequently moved to amend his complaint to include a claim against Marriott International, Inc.  The parties resolved the lawsuit.

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ANTHONY TOTARO v. LLNS, LLC

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Case No. 11-cv-05446-PJH

From 2000 to 2010 Anthony Totaro, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, took a leave absence from his employer, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (a/k/a Lawrence Livermore National Lab) to serve in the military.  Mr. Totaro alleged that upon his return to work in 2010 he was not given his proper job back and that the Lab discriminated against him on account of his military service. Mr. Totaro’s Complaint can be viewed here.  The Lab denied liability.  Thereafter discovery ensued and Mr. Totaro moved to amend his complaint to include individual USERRA claims against certain Lab managers and attorneys.  A copy of Mr. Totaro’s motion to amend his complaint is available here.  Shortly thereafter, the parties agreed to resolve the matter in lieu of litigating the case.

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MICHAEL J. SILVA v. STUDLEY PROFESSIONAL STAFFING, LLC

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

Case No. 12-CV-0022-TSE-TRJ

Mr. Silva, who was also a Brigadier General in the US Army Reserve, worked as a Vice President at Studley Professional Staffing (SPS).  Mr. Silva was mobilized for a tour of duty in Iraq.  Mr. Silva was not given his job back after returning from war.  SPS claimed that it did not have to give Mr. Silva his job back because one of SPS’s customers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said that it did not want Mr. Silva back and would cancel its contract with SPS if Mr. Silva returned to work.  SPS also alleged that financial stress prevented it from re-employing Mr. Silva.  Subsequent investigation cast doubt on the validity of the Department of Homeland Security’s “threat” and the factual bases of the SPS’s claimed financial hardship. The parties agreed to resolve the matter weeks before a jury trial. Additional information on Mr. Silva’s allegations can be located by clicking on Michael Silva’s Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.

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MICHAEL “SHANE” THORSON v. KLICKITAT COUNTY

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington

Case No. CV10-5137-RMP

Mr. Thorson, who was also a Sergeant in the Army National Guard, worked as a deputy sheriff in Klickitat County, Washington. Mr. Thorson alleged that shortly after he started work his supervisor told him to quit the Army National Guard.  Mr. Thorson complied but, months later, was involuntarily recalled back into the Army National Guard to serve a tour of duty in Iraq. The Klickitat County Sheriff’s office fired Mr. Thorson seventeen days after Mr. Thorson informed it that he had been recalled.  The County claimed that it was justified in terminating Mr. Thorson’s employment because of Mr. Thorson’s failure to return two telephone calls and attend a pre-disciplinary meeting.  Subsequent investigation cast serious doubt on the genuineness of the employer’s reasons for termination.  The parties agreed to resolve the matter in lieu of going to trial.  Additional information on Mr. Thorson’s allegations can be located by clicking on Michael Thorson’s Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.

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RICHARD BAENEN v. CITY OF BURBANK

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Case No. CV10-9290-PSG (MANx)

Mr. Baenen, who was also a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Coast Guard Reserve, served as the City of Burbank’s Disaster Preparedness Coordinator.  Mr. Baenen was then mobilized to serve a lengthy tour with the U.S. Coast Guard.  The City eliminated Mr. Baenen’s job while Mr. Baenen was on military duty.  The City claimed, among other things, that financial reasons justified its decision.  Subsequent investigation cast doubt on the validity of the City’s reasons for eliminating Mr. Baenen’s job and further revealed that the City terminated Mr. Baenen in part because of his military service.  The parties agreed to resolve the matter instead of going to trial. (Matt Crotty and Thomas Jarrard litigated this case in association with attorney George Aucoin.)  Additional information on Mr. Baenen’s allegations can be located by clicking on Richard Baenen’s Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.

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CYNTHIA BAGNALL AND FORREST GREGORY BAGNALL v. CITY OF SUNRISE, FLORIDA

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

Case No. 10-61299-CIV-MARTINEZ

Mr. Bagnall, who was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, worked for the City of Sunrise.  Mr. Bagnall was subsequently mobilized for a lengthy tour of military duty.  Mr. Bagnall alleged that the City placed Mr. Bagnall in a position of lower seniority, status, and pay upon his return from military duty.  The City denied Mr. Bagnall’s allegations.  The City attempted to get Mr. Bagnall’s case fully dismissed prior to trial but was unsuccessful.  The case then settled after the first day of a jury trial.  (Matt Crotty and Thomas Jarrard litigated this case in association with attorney George Aucoin.)

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PETER BIRKHOLZ v. BILLINGS CLINIC, et. al.

U.S. District Court, District of Montana,

Case No. 1:09-cv-00051-RFC

Mr. Birkholz, who was also a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard, worked at Billings Clinic.  Billings Clinic terminated Mr. Birkholz’s employment citing, among other things, negative performance reviews.  Some of those performance reviews mentioned Mr. Birkholz’s military service. Billings Clinic attempted to get Mr. Birkholz’s case dismissed prior to trial but was unable to do so.  The case then settled shortly before trial. (Matt Crotty and Thomas Jarrard litigated this case in association with attorney George Aucoin.)

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DANIEL BLESKEY v. WILLDAN ENGINEERING

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Case No. 10-5454

Mr. Bleskey, who was also a Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve, worked for Willdan Engineering. Mr. Bleskey was then deployed to Iraq.  Willdan subsequently eliminated Mr. Bleskey’s job claiming performance and financial issues.  The parties agreed to resolve the matter in lieu of going to trial. (Matt Crotty and Thomas Jarrard litigated this case in association with attorney George Aucoin.)

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DAVID MERRITT, M.D. v. BLACK RIVER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

Case No. 10-cv-840

Dr. Merritt, who was also a Major in the Army National Guard, worked as an emergency room physician at Black River Memorial Hospital.  Dr. Merritt deployed to Afghanistan.  Dr. Merritt alleged that upon returning from Afghanistan his supervisor asked if Dr. Merritt would be deployed again. Dr. Merritt replied “probably.”  Shortly thereafter Black River terminated Dr. Merritt’s employment claiming performance and contract issues. Subsequent investigation cast doubt as to the validity of Black River’s reasoning. The parties resolved the matter approximately one month before trial.  (Matt Crotty and Thomas Jarrard litigated this case in association with attorney George Aucoin.)

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GREGORY WORCESTER v. SPOKANE COUNTY

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington

Case No. CV-10-241-JLQ

Mr. Worcester, a member of the Army Reserve, applied for employment as a deputy sheriff at Spokane County Corrections, scored at the top of the candidate list, but was denied initial employment when the County learned of his upcoming period of military training.  In his absence, the County hired several other lower ranking candidates.  Mr. Worcester was eventually hired in a lower status of seniority.  Thereafter, Mr. Worcester took periodic leaves of absence for military service.  However, over his objections, the County charged Mr. Worcester’s time away against his personal vacation time.  The County also continued the standard year-long employee probation period for each of his military absences; approximately two years were added to Mr. Worcester’s probation and he lost further seniority benefits, causing Mr. Worcester’s seniority ranking to fall below employees who were hired many months after him.  Consequently, during a reduction in force, Mr. Worcester was terminated from employment before both, candidates hired after the denial of his initial employment and after employees hired after him.   Mr. Worcester filed suit against for the violation of his rights, among others, discrimination in employment, protection from discharge, and denial of rights and benefits protected by USERRA. 38 U.S.C. §§ 4311, 4312, 4313, 4316, 4318.  The case was settled shortly after the first court hearing.

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MICHAEL HERT v. AURORA HEALTH CARE , INC.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Case No. CV-00469-WCG

Mr. Hert, a member of the Army Reserve, worked at Aurora Health Care, Inc.  Mr. Hert deployed to, among other places, the Horn of Africa for an extended period of time.  Shortly after returning home Aurora fired Mr. Hert. The parties agreed to resolve the matter in lieu of proceeding with litigation. (Matt Crotty and Thomas Jarrard litigated this case in association with attorney George Aucoin.)

 

 

 

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