Posts tagged "Popeo"

Verdrager v. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-074-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-11901   KAMEE VERDRAGER  vs.  Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., & others.[1]       Suffolk.     November 5, 2015. – May 31, 2016.   Present:  Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Anti-Discrimination Law, Employment, Sex, Termination of employment.  Employment, Discrimination, Sexual harassment, Demotion, Retaliation, Termination.  Unlawful Interference.  Practice, Civil, Summary judgment, Discovery.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on November 3, 2009.   The case was heard by Peter M. Lauriat, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Kamee Verdrager, pro se. Joan A. Lukey (Justin J. Wolosz with her) for the defendants. Ellen J. Messing, for Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief. Ben Robbins & Martin J. Newhouse, for New England Legal Foundation & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     LENK, J.  General Laws c. 151B, § 4, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of gender.  It also prohibits them from retaliating against employees for engaging in “protected activity,” i.e., activity undertaken “to protest or oppose statutorily prohibited discrimination” (citation omitted).  See Thirkield v. Neary & Hunter OB/GYN, LLC, 76 F. Supp. 3d 339, 350 (D. Mass. 2015) (interpreting G. L. c. 151B).  Here, we are asked to determine whether summary judgment should have entered for the employer on an employee’s claims for gender discrimination and retaliation.  In addressing the retaliation claim, we confront the novel question whether it is “protected activity” for an employee to search for, copy, and share with the employee’s attorney confidential documents that the employee is authorized to access in the course of employment and that may help prove a discrimination claim. The plaintiff is an attorney who worked for a Boston law firm, defendant Mintz, Levin, Ferris, Cohn, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. (firm).  During the course of her employment with that firm, from June, 2004, to November, 2008, she complained to her superiors and, ultimately, to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), that she was being subjected to discriminatory treatment on the basis of her gender – treatment that, she believed, led to her demotion in February, 2007.  In the wake of this demotion, and on the advice of her attorney, the plaintiff searched the firm’s document management system for items that might prove her assertions of discrimination.  […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 31, 2016 at 5:52 pm

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