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7th Circuit rules in favor of Locke Reynolds

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Indianapolis law firm Locke Reynolds has won an appeal in a case with a former paralegal who sued over allegations that she was fired because of her race.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued a 13-page decision Wednesday afternoon affirming the summary judgment in favor of the law firm. U.S. District Judge John Tinder had ruled against the plaintiff in March 2006.

Marcella Fane, who worked as a paralegal for about two years in the toxic tort/asbestos practice group, filed a claim with the EEOC after she was terminated in August 2003 for rude and improper behavior toward colleagues and insubordination toward a senior partner.

In reaching their decision, the circuit panel cited examples of rude and inappropriate e-mails Fane sent to fellow paralegals, as well as conduct toward clients in conversations and written communications. Another example was how she directed a senior partner – her boss – to "come in, have a seat, and shut the door" – conduct the circuit judges noted she did not think was inappropriate.

"Fane's failure to live up to the firm's expectations was amplified by her inability to evaluate her own behavior, including the manner in which she addressed a senior partner," Judge Joel Flaum wrote in the opinion. "Even if Fane could establish a prima facie case of discrimination, she has failed to provide evidence from which a jury could conclude that the firm 's proffered reasons for terminating her were pretextual."

Fane's attorney, Bobby Potters of Indianapolis, could not be reached Thursday for comment, but attorneys at Locke Reynolds say they are pleased with the outcome.

"We did not feel there was any basis; now we have two courts confirming that there was no evidence supporting those allegations," said Jim Dimos, a partner on the firm's management committee. "We've always prided ourselves on being a good place to work for all people in the community. This is an affirmation of what we do."

Read the full opinion of Marcella Fane v. Locke Reynolds, 06-2200.

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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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