Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris, LLC (SBH) partners Kim Jones and Alex Aguilera recently obtained a dismissal of intentional tort claims and summary judgment for the defendants against claims of sexual discrimination and sexual harassment in federal court. This followed an eve of trial voluntary dismissal of similar claims against the same defendants in state court. The litigation in the case spanned across two courts and lasted nearly three full years. It remains to be seen whether the plaintiff will pursue any further action.
“We are pleased to see the ruling in this case bring to an end a long and unnecessary litigative process,” Aguilera said. “Our clients have been cooperative throughout the process and will hopefully not have to face further accusations from the plaintiff.”
Jenna Mauller — the plaintiff — filed the state case in St. Louis County, Missouri, in March 2016, alleging sexual discrimination and sexual harassment under the Missouri Humans Rights Act against her employer and her general manager at the store where she worked. The assault, battery, and false imprisonment claims against the employer were dismissed based on SBH’s legal argument that the court lacked jurisdiction over the claims.
Four days before a scheduled trial, Mauller made a strategic decision to dismiss her claims without prejudice and refile.
Mauller’s attorney opted to file a new lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The intentional tort claims against the company were again dismissed, and early summary judgment on the discrimination and harassment claims was granted due to a lack of timeliness in the Title VII claims being made.
The court granted the company’s summary judgment motion and rejected Mauller’s claim that she didn’t receive her notice of right to sue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) until August 2017. The EEOC indicated the notice had been sent to Mauller in 2016, when both SBH and its clients received the notice.
“The EEOC provided testimony that regular practices were followed in sending the notice of right to sue, despite the plaintiff’s claims,” Jones said. “Throughout the legal process, the plaintiff failed to provide evidence to support her claims. The courts rightfully provided appropriate dismissals and summary judgments in this case.”