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Observations and commentary on interesting areas of the law

Law & Litigation Blog

A High-Profile Sexual Harassment Case in Cincinnati, Ohio Continues to Unfold. Does Evelyn Marie Reid Have a Case Against Terry's Turf Club?

News reports recently surfaced about a woman's termination from a local restaurant, which quickly turned into a high profile Cincinnati sexual harassment case, garnering the interest of a number of Cincinnati employment attorneys. The woman's name is Evelyn Marie Reid, and she worked at acclaimed Cincinnati restaurant Terry's Turf Club until she was unexpectedly fired by owner Terry Carter in the middle of a shift. As reported by FOX19, 700WLW, WKRC, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and other media outlets, Ms. Reid began recording Carter as he escorted her out of the restaurant. The three-minute video captured Carter telling Ms. Reid to "keep your legs open." He also declined to tell her why she was being fired, which came as a total shock to her.

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When You Hire an Employment Attorney, Choose Wisely!

According to a study conducted by the American Bar Foundation, reported in the American Bar Association Journal, found that both plaintiffs and defendants in employment discrimination cases were deeply dissatisfied with the court process and the way their cases played out. 

Out of 41 employment law plaintiffs, interviewed, 27 - over 65% - thought that their own lawyers were incompetent or worked against them. Over 25% even thought that their lawyers were "corrupt." The surveyed group included plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases, race discrimination cases, national origin discrimination cases, Equal Pay Act cases, retaliation cases, wrongful termination cases, and age discrimination cases. As the ABA Journal reported:

Plaintiffs start out optimistic, the study found, until they encounter significant obstacles. Costs are high, conflicts develop with lawyers, and personal lives are affected. They rarely get a final ruling on the substantive merits of their case... Some complained their lawyers failed to make them equal partners in the litigation... Out of the 13 plaintiffs who said their lawyers had integrity or skills, five nonetheless thought the lawyers gave them bad advice, made mistakes or colluded with the defense. Many of the plaintiffs were shocked at the high cost of litigation. Some mortgaged their homes and took extra jobs to pay their lawyers, and some even declared bankruptcy.

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Alex Durst Recognized as one of the "Best Employment Lawyers in Cincinnati"

Three Best Rated is a service that researches law firms and other businesses and publishes the "top 3" in each category. Alex J. Durst of The Durst Law Firm was recently included in one of its lists, as one of the “handpicked top 3 best employment lawyers in Cincinnati, Ohio,” published here: The Best Employment Lawyers in Cincinnati. In determining its ratings, Three Best Rated conducts a “50-Point Inspection” including “customer reviews, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and their general excellence.”

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Abuse of Process: A Lawsuit for Filing a Frivolous Lawsuit? (Part 1 of 3)

Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals recently decided the case of Pingue v. Preferred Real Estate Invests II, L.L.C., 5th Dist. Delaware No. 15 CAE 01 0008, 2015-Ohio-475. This case illustrates the legal claim known as "abuse of process." I have heard abuse of process described as "a lawsuit for filing a frivolous lawsuit." This is overly simplistic and technically not 100% correct, but in some ways it is an apt description.

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Woman Sues Vibrator Company

The internet is abuzz today with headlines like “Too Sensitive? Sex toy maker sued over collection of intimate data” and “Smart Sex Toy Maker Sued for Sneakily Collecting ‘Intimate’ Data.” 

By far the most tactful and politically correct is the Chicago Tribune’s article, entitled “Lawsuit claims smartphone-enabled massage device violated privacy.” Yes, the Chicago Tribune called a vibrator that can be controlled with a cellphone a “smartphone-enabled massage device.”

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Read This Case Before You Steal Your Boss's Clients: Cautionary Tales from Definitive Sols. Co. v. Sliper

Ohio's First District Court of Appeals, which covers Cincinnati/Hamilton County, recently decided the case of Definitive Sols. Co. v. Sliper, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-150281, 2016-Ohio-533, __ N.E.3d __. This was an interesting case involving an alleged breach of a "non-solicitation agreement" and alleged "tortious interference" by former employees of a company. The opinion, by Judge Pat DeWine, is extremely well-written and demonstrates superior modern legal writing techniques.

There are several lessons to be learned from this case. First, the story of what happened:

A company by the name of Definitive Solutions Company, Inc. (DSC) had a contract with P&G to provide design and technology services. P&G was a major client of DSC. Four DSC employees were assigned to the P&G account. These employees worked closely with P&G employees, were often contacted directly by P&G for work on projects, and sometimes worked on-site at P&G. It appears they built up a rapport with their contacts at P&G. In 2011, these employees began leaving DSC. One of them formed a new company called Creative Elements Group, LLC (CEG), where all four ended up working.

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Thompson v. Knobeloch: An Appellate Lesson, Courtesy of the Tenth District Court of Appeals

The Tenth District Court of Appeals recently decided the case of Thompson v. Knobeloch, a lawyer's worst nightmare. Ohio appellate attorneys must take note.

This was a medical malpractice case. The lawyers for the Plaintiffs/malpractice victims did an incredible job. They won a jury verdict of $1,578,539.51 for their clients in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, a remarkable result in what I can only imagine must have been a very hard-fought trial. Of course, the doctor they sued filed numerous post-trial motions requesting a new trial and asking the Trial Court to set aside the jury verdict. When the Trial Court denied their motions, they appealed.

The Plaintiffs filed a "Notice of Cross Appeal" (having to do with the jury not being instructed on punitive damages). But the Court of Appeals, sua sponte ("on its own Motion," without the Defendant even requesting it), dismissed their cross appeal. Why? Because it was filed with the clerk of the Court of Appeals, not the clerk of the Trial Court. 

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