Employee of Major League Baseball (2021)
Lisa Banks is representing a Major League Baseball employee, who earlier this year reported that Hall of Fame player Roberto Alomar had committed sexual misconduct in 2014.
Following an investigation, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Alomar had been fired as a consultant by Major League Baseball, and placed on the league’s ineligible list. Also, the Toronto Blue Jays fired Alomar as a special assistant, and stated that it is severing ties with Alomar, removing him for the club’s Level of Excellence, and taking down his banner from Rogers Centre.
Washington Football Team (2021)
Lisa Banks is representing 40 former employees of the Washington Football Team, who have alleged a toxic and abusive work environment, going back 20 years, in which women were subjected to pervasive sexual harassment and abuse.
The former employees describe a toxic workplace and a culture of fear that was instilled from team owner Dan Snyder and his leadership team.
The Washington Post recounted the disturbing details in a series of explosive articles.
After the first Washington Post article
on the Washington Football Team’s hostile environment appeared in July 2020, the team hired
a law firm to conduct an independent review. That investigation was taken over
in August by the National Football League, which has said it will take appropriate action based on the results of the investigation.
Steven Sund (2021)
Lisa Banks is representing Steven Sund, the former Chief of Capitol Police, related to the fallout from the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Sund was Chief when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the counting of electoral votes, and desecrating and vandalizing the halls of Congress. Five people died during the riot, including a Capitol Police officer, and two additional police officers died by suicide in the ensuing days.
In the immediate aftermath of the riot, Sund defended the Capitol Police as fighting “valiantly” in the face of thousands of violent rioters. However, in the face of criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sund resigned the following day.
Sund has continued to defend his actions and the actions of his officers, and testified before Congress on February 24. “None of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred,” Sund said at the hearing. “We properly planned for a mass demonstration with possible violence. What we got was a military-style, coordinated assault on my officers and a violent takeover of the Capitol building.”
Additionally, Sund informed Congress that his request for assistance two days before the riot was denied because of “optics,” that a response to his urgent calls for National Guard assistance on January 6 was inexplicably delayed for hours, and that a bulletin from the FBI the day before the attack, which warned of the possibility of more extreme violence, was not transmitted to him prior to the attack.
Dr. Rick Bright (2020)
Lisa Banks represents Dr. Rick Bright, a federal scientist who served as director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority until his involuntary removal in April 2020.
In a whistleblower complaint filed with the Office of Special Counsel, Dr. Bright charged that he was removed from his position in retaliation for his insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit. He further charged that he clashed repeatedly with HHS political leadership because of his resistance to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections and he limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the Trump Administration as a panacea. The Administration, over Dr. Bright’s objections, demanded that New York and New Jersey be “flooded” with these drugs, which were imported from factories in Pakistan and India that had not been inspected by the FDA. Dr. Bright rightly resisted efforts to provide these drugs which lacked scientific merit on demand to the American public and insisted that they be provided only to hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 while under the supervision of a physician. These drugs have potentially serious risks associated with them, including increased mortality demonstrated in some recent studies in patients with COVID-19. Dr. Bright also raised dire and urgent concerns beginning in January of 2020, about the nation’s lack of critical supplies necessary to combat COVID-19, such as masks, respirators, and swabs. Thereafter, HHS political leadership retaliated against Dr. Bright. On May 14th, Dr. Bright testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee.
On May 8th, three days after Dr. Bright filed his complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, the OSC found "reasonable grounds to believe" that that the administration was retaliating against Bright, and recommended that Dr. Bright be reinstated pending the outcome of its investigation into his retaliation claim.
Curtis Ewbank (2020)
Lisa Banks represents Curtis Ewbank, a Boeing engineer who filed an internal ethics complaint regarding the design process of the 737 MAX plane, which has been grounded worldwide following tragic crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. As originally reported in the New York Times and Seattle Times, Mr. Ewbank’s complaint reported that the company rejected adding potentially critical safety systems during the development of the 737 MAX jet due to a focus on cost and pilot re-training concerns.
Mr. Ewbank worked on the cockpit controls and displays design of the airplane, which pilots use to monitor and control the plane.
In his complaint, Mr. Ewbank reported that Boeing did not implement a synthetic airspeed system that uses software to provide an indirect calculation of airspeed. This system would serve as a check on the plane’s “angle of attack” sensors that measure the plane’s angle in the sky, and could prevent incorrect data from being distributed to other systems if the sensors’ readings disagreed with one another. In both of the crashes of the 737 MAX flights, it is believed that the angle of attack sensors sent incorrect data to the plane’s automated MCAS system, contributing to irrecoverable nose dives.
Three of Mr. Ewbank’s former colleagues interviewed by the Seattle Times concurred that the synthetic airspeed system could have potentially prevented the tragedies in Ethiopia and Indonesia. The news coverage further noted that Mr. Ewbank’s complaint also reported concerns that Boeing’s corporate culture promoted fear over raising concerns and a lack of transparency with government aviation safety regulators.
Anonymous Accuser of NFL Football Player Antonio Brown (2019)
Lisa Banks represented a female artist who accused professional football player, Antonio Brown, of sexual misconduct and threatening behavior. In 2017, Brown hired the client to paint a mural in his home, where he subjected her to sexually inappropriate behavior.
While the client did not initially reveal Mr. Brown’s misconduct publicly, she confirmed his actions in response to questions from a Sports Illustrated reporter. On September 16, 2019, Sports Illustrated published an article which detailed Brown’s misconduct, including his sexual harassment of our client. Brown retaliated by sending threatening and disparaging text messages to and about our client, including pictures of her children and an instruction to his associates, who were also included on the text message, to investigate her.
KMB contacted the NFL and asked it to intervene to stop Brown’s intimidation of our client, and worked with the League in its investigation to ensure that the threatening behavior was addressed and did not reoccur. After our client publicly came forward, the New England Patriots cut him from its roster.
Christine Blasey Ford (2018)
Lisa Banks, Debra Katz, and Joseph Abboud represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in proceedings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2018. Dr. Ford testified about then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault of her in the early 1980s when they were teenagers.
Ms. Banks worked to ensure that Dr. Ford was able to testify in an open hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and to protect Dr. Ford against malicious and bad faith attacks that attempted to twist the facts of the case and to discredit her. She prepared Dr. Ford for the testimony she gave in front of the entire country and were her public representatives
Dr. Ford’s testimony had a significant impact on the country. A year after the shocking allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced, the image of Dr. Ford raising her right hand
became the iconic photo of the #MeToo movement. Her testimony has inspired hundreds of thousands of victims to tell their stories of assault for the first time.
Ultimately, Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, but Dr. Ford’s testimony was a trailblazing moment that gave voice to millions of survivors of sexual violence and further highlighted the nationwide reckoning that had emerged on the issue of sexual violence in the #MeToo era.
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.