Appeal Supported By Ellen Messing and James Weliky-Authored Brief Claims Civil Rights Victory
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently handed down a victory for civil rights plaintiffs and attorneys in their ruling in Diaz v. Jilten Hotel Management, Inc. (Docket No. 11-2400, September 18, 2012). The case, brought by a hotel employee alleging age discrimination, was appealed by the plaintiff claiming the trial court erred in calculating an award of attorneys’ fees. Recognizing that awards of attorneys’ fees constitute an important incentive encouraging attorneys to accept civil rights cases, the Court of Appeals ruled the trial court judge improperly reduced the attorneys’ fees award by giving undue emphasis to plaintiff’s refusal of a pre-trial settlement offer.
The plaintiff/appellant’s appeal was supported by an amicus brief co-authored by Ellen Messing, James Weliky and other prominent civil rights lawyers. Much of the reasoning employed in the amicus brief was adopted in the Court of Appeals’ ruling. The full text of the amicus brief can be found here.
Additionally, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly quoted Ellen Messing in their coverage of the ruling. Their article can be found here.