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September 2018

Chicago Team Prevails on Summary Judgment in Federal Employment Lawsuit in Its Entirety

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Chicago partner Patrick Moran and senior counsel Brian Roth obtained summary judgment in its entirety in a federal employment lawsuit filed against their healthcare and physician network client.  The plaintiff, a nurse practitioner, alleged that she was summoned to active military duty, and when she returned, she was demoted and subjected to a campaign of harassment based on hostility to her military service.  Specifically, the plaintiff claimed violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. § 4301 et seq. and intentional infliction of emotional distress, for which she sought significant damages.

Following extensive discovery, including more than a dozen depositions, the Chicago team moved for summary judgment in its entirety, outlining how the plaintiff’s legal claims were not supported by the undisputed facts. The United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois agreed with Gordon & Rees' arguments, and granted summary judgment for the firm’s client on all claims. The Court ruled that plaintiff’s claim for constructive discharge under USERRA failed because her working conditions, from the standpoint of a reasonable employee, had not become unbearable, as required by law. The Court also ruled that the plaintiff’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress likewise failed, because the client’s conduct “simply does not even arguably rise to the level of ‘extreme and outrageous’ conduct,” as required, and that no reasonable jury could conclude otherwise.

In the end, the court entered summary judgment on all claims, and it further recognized that “[a]s important as the protections of USERRA undoubtedly are, the evidence is insufficient to get to trial in this particular case.”

To read the decision in full, please click here.

Patrick F. Moran
Brian Roth