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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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