Age discrimination can truly leave a person who has worked his or her entire life without a means to survive in later years. The firm handled an age case we believe would have been a "winner" before a jury, but often, judges to not allow plaintiffs' cases to be heard by a jury -- even where all the appropriate legal arguments are made and the evidence could very well compel to a jury to find the employer liable. The Andrews case was one such case. We include it here to raise awareness of this problem.
Andrews v. Greater Southeast Hospital Ms. Andrews worked for Greater Southeast Hospital for 28 years where she had worked her way up to Diet Clerk from the food line, where she began so many years ago. Ms. Andrews received "exceptional" performance evaluations and merit pay awards. In 2001, the hospital contracted with a private company to perform work previously performed by employees. An employee of that contractor began to supervise Ms. Andrews. He immediately targeted her for harassment. She was the oldest member of the staff. Finally, after months of harassment and false accusations against her, some of which she proved were false but was still disciplined, the supervisor terminated her.
Left without an income after 28 years of dedicated service as a diet clerk, with non-transferable skills, and with the stigma of having been fired by her employer of 28 years, Ms. Andrews is unable to find adequate work to support herself. The firm could not turn its back on Ms. Andrews and continues to pursue this case through numerous obstacles, including the bankruptcy reorganization of the Greater Southeast Hospital.
The District Court granted summary judgment to the Defendant hospital, denying Ms. Andrews the opportunity to have a jury hear her case. Judge Kollar-Kotelly accepted the hospital's accusations against Ms. Andrews as true, ignoring the evidence that she presented to rebut the hospital's claims. The case is now on appeal. The Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin has filed a Motion for Summary Reversal, in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that Judge Kollar-Kotelly usurped the province of the jury by deciding issues of fact that Ms. Andrews should have been able to address in a trial. Ms. Martin argued that the trial court's ruling for defendant, without a trial, was "clear reversible error" and that a full briefing is not even necessary to reverse that holding. See Appellant's Motion for Summary Reversal. Two unfortunate events occurred with respect to this case. First, Greater Southeast Hospital filed for bankruptcy -- again -- which would have rendered any judgment for Ms. Andrews minimal, if not moot. Second, and most disturbingly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit summarily affirmed, without opinion, the decision of the District Court. Ms. Andrews never had the opportunity to have her case heard by a jury.
Although we always want to win our cases, the act of standing up for what is right and for bringing attention to an important issue is necessary for change. Sometimes you just have to stand up -- win or lose -- you stand up. It is the act itself that makes you a winner -- in the true sense of the word. If no one stands up against wrongdoing by powerful institutions, there will never be real change."