Georgia Court Employee’s Pro Se Case Dismissed for Failure to Name Correct Defendant in Suit Claiming Employment Discrimination

Having knowledgeable and assertive legal representation in an Atlanta employment discrimination case is crucial. Although the law allows those who choose to represent themselves the freedom to do so, this is almost never a good idea.

Unfortunately, a Georgia woman (who, ironically, worked for the court system against which she attempted to bring suit) found this out the hard way. Because she had named the wrong defendant in her lawsuit, her case was dismissed.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was an employee of a certain county juvenile court. Choosing to represent herself rather than hire an attorney, the employee filed suit in federal court against the defendant, the consolidated city-county government of the town and county in which the juvenile court where the plaintiff worked was located. In her complaint against the defendant, the plaintiff alleged that she had been the victim of unlawful discrimination and sought various legal remedies under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 200e-17.

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, averring that it was not the plaintiff’s “employer” for purposes of Title VII. Under the local rules of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Columbus Division, where the case was filed, the defendant was required to attach to its motion for summary judgment a statement of the material facts upon which it relied. Although the local rules required the plaintiff to respond to each of the defendant’s numbered material facts, the plaintiff did not do so. Instead, the plaintiff asked the district court for hearing so that she could “defend against the many verbose motions brought by the defendant’s many attorneys.”

The Court’s Decision

The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the employee’s lawsuit. Under VII, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee. In the federal district court’s opinion, the plaintiff failed to present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant was, in fact, her “employer” as that term is defined in the relevant statute. In so holding, the court noted that the defendant had provided undisputed evidence that it was not involved in hiring the plaintiff, establishing her job responsibilities, regulating her work environment, or supervising her. Hence, the court reasoned that, because the defendant was not the plaintiff’s “employer,” her Title VII action against the defendant for employment discrimination failed.

Hire an Experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney in Atlanta

As this case illustrates, failing to obtain quality legal representation in an employment law case can easily result in dismissal of what might otherwise have been a valid claim. If you believe that you have been discriminated against or otherwise have been treated unfairly in the workplace, don’t risk the success of your case by trying to do things on your own. To schedule an appointment to discuss your potential claim with a seasoned Atlanta race discrimination lawyer, call Attorney John L. Mays at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert at 404-873-8048 today.

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