Lisa J. Banks's Notable Case Successes
Giersdorf v. Peninsula Airways (2016)
Katz, Marshall & Banks partners Lisa Banks and Michael Filoromo represented pilot Ron Giersdorf in his AIR 21 whistleblower complaint after he was terminated by Peninsula Airways for raising safety concerns. The U.S. Department of Labor found reasonable cause to believe the airline violated federal whistleblower laws, and ordered reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees on behalf of Mr. Giersdorf.
Moshak et al. v. University of Tennessee (2015)
Katz, Marshall & Banks partners Lisa Banks and Matthew Stiff represented the former Associate Director of Sports Medicine and two former strength coaches for the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers who alleged that the University had discriminated against them by paying them less than their counterparts in the men’s athletic department, passing them over for promotion, and terminating their employment after they complained about these practices. The case was settled in November 2015 for over $1 million.
Mills v. D.C. Public Schools (2014)
In 2014, Jeffrey Mills was fired from D.C. Public Schools after serving as the Director of Food and Nutrition Services since 2010. KMB partner Lisa Banks represented Mr. Mills, alleging constitutional violations and wrongful termination in violation of public policy, the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, and the D.C. False Claims Act. Mr. Mills’ employment case against the District of Columbia was settled for $450,000 plus certain non-monetary provisions.
University of Colorado, Boulder (2014)
Katz, Marshall & Banks partners Debra Katz and Lisa Banks brought a Title IX claim on behalf of a graduate student at the University of Colorado alleging retaliation. KMB alleged that CU-Boulder violated Title IX by exposing the student to a sexually hostile academic environment and to retaliation by a tenured Professor in the Department after her Title IX claims were validated by the University’s Office of Discrimination and Harassment. The case settled for $850,000 plus various non-monetary provisions, including a public statement from the University Chancellor stating that settling the claims was "the right thing to do."
Desmond v. Mukasey, 530 F.3d 944 (D.C. Cir. 2008)
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision granting summary judgment in the case of an FBI employee who alleged that he was discriminated and retaliated against because of his post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). The Court found that sleeping qualifies as a “major life activity”; that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether the employee’s PTSD-induced sleeplessness constituted a substantial limitation on a major life activity; and that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether FBI’s proffered reasons for dismissing Academy trainee were pretext for discrimination.
Oscarson v. Office of Senate Sergeant at Arms, 550 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2008)
In the case of a federal employee suing the Office of Senate Sergeant at Arms (“SAA”) for disability discrimination, the district court rejected the SAA’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The SAA then sought an interlocutory appeal from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The D.C. Circuit dismissed the SAA’s appeal and allowed the plaintiff to proceed with her case.
EEOC v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 249 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 2001)
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision to grant defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a case brought against UPS where a delivery driver alleged that UPS had failed to accommodate his severe allergies and was misled into resigning his job with promises of rehiring. The Court of Appeals held that the complaint was timely filed with EEOC within 300 days of learning that the driver would not be rehired; that the driver made prima facie showings that he was disabled and that he suffered adverse employment action because of that disability; and that therefore material issues of fact precluded summary judgment.
EEOC v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 243 F.3d 846 (4th Cir. 2001)
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision to grant Sears’s motion for summary judgment in a Title VII national origin discrimination case. The Court found that Sears’s proffered reason for failing to rehire a qualified Hispanic applicant for a security guard position was pretext for discrimination.
EEOC v. Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corp., 220 F.3d 1184 (10th Cir. 2000)
In a case alleging that Horizon/CMS had unlawfully denied a group of pregnant employees the opportunity to work modified duty when they became temporarily unable to perform heavy lifting, the district court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the claim of disparate treatment, finding that objective company policy allowed modified duty only for those employees injured on the job, and that there was therefore no evidence the pregnant employees were treated less favorably than non-pregnant but otherwise similarly-situated-employees. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, holding that an employee’s failure to meet objective, employer-imposed qualifications that have no bearing on an applicant’s ability to perform the job sought cannot be used to defeat the employee’s prima facie case.
EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 187 F.3d 1231 (10th Cir. 1999)
In a lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart on behalf of a hearing-impaired worker against an employer for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a jury awarded the worker compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees. Wal-Mart appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, who upheld the jury’s verdict and award, holding that a punitive damage award of $75,000, one-fourth the statutory maximum, did not shock the judicial conscience.
Terry v. Director, Complaint Adjudication Div., EEOC, 173 F.3d 425 (4th Cir. 1999)
The Fourth Circuit upheld a district court decision dismissing Donald Terry’s complaint against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where Terry alleged that the EEOC had failed to adequately investigate his claims in a suit brought against his former employer, the Department of the Navy. The Fourth Circuit agreed with the district court that Terry failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Wideman v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 141 F.3d 1453 (11th Cir. 1998)
In a Title VII case where an employee alleged she had been treated reprehensibly at work, but not actually terminated, the district court granted Wal-Mart’s motion for judgment as a matter of law and dismissed the case, holding that the alleged discrimination was not an “ultimate employment action” and therefore did not qualify as an adverse employment action. The 11th Circuit overturned the decision, holding that Title VII’s protection against retaliatory discrimination extends to adverse actions which fall short of ultimate employment decisions.