ETHNIC INTIMIDATION/ASSAULT AND BATTERY CASE SETTLED THROUGH CASE EVALUATION FOR $60,000

In the Media:

Description of Case:

Monica is a gay woman, and everyone at Defendant Vic Canever knew this. She was a car detailer/cleaner for the Vic Canever dealership.  She came in and did her job well, if not better than any of her male co-workers. When first hired, she was told by her immediate supervisor, “I can’t believe they hired you!  A woman cannot do this work!” Additionally, some time before her termination of employment, Monica was subjected to sex discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as numerous and forceful touchings and assaults and batteries. Just one example of Defendants' acts of intimidation and assault and battery was when Plaintiff was cornered in the workplace and her male co-workers pressed their genitals into her back, and actually had that co-worker pump and grind against her in a repeated motion, essentially dry-humping her, while telling her, “I will turn you straight!”. In addition to this, she was subjected to daily questions about her sex life. She was also subjected to co-workers telling her, “You’ll clean the bathroom because that’s a woman’s job!”.

Plaintiff reported these incidents to her supervisors, who not only declined to get involved, but shrugged off what she was going through, and told Plaintiff, “Oh, you know how Glenn (her assaulter) is.” In fact, Plaintiff repeatedly complained to Defendant Employer to stop the above conduct, but they deliberately failed and/or refused to do so.

Legally, the type of "sex stereotyping" Defendants subjected Plaintiff to is specifically actionable pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Price Waterhouse v Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 235 (1989), where the plaintiff was told to, "for God's sake, put some jewelry on, put some perfume on, dress and act like a woman if you want to make partner!". And, same sex harassment was also made specifically actionable by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc, 523 US 75 (1998). Most importantly, what made this an extremely dangerous case for Defendants to try in front of a jury is Michigan's Ethnic Intimidation law, found in MCLA 750.147(b), which provides that if there is gender discrimination and actual threats or contact – such as dry-humping a woman to "screw her straight" – whatever damages the jury awards are tripled!!!

 

This case settled through an Genesee County ADR panel for $60,000.

Attorneys for this case were Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko, and Jarrett M. Pabst.

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Case Info:

Type of Action: ELCRA Ethnic Intimidation, Hostile Work Environment, Opposition/Retaliation, and Assault and Battery

Injuries Alleged: Loss of income, mental anguish, emotional distress

Name of Case: McVay v. Vic Canever Chevrolet, et al

Court: Genesee County Circuit Court

Case No: 13-101477-CZ

Name of Judge: Judge Judith Fullerton

ADR/Settlement: $60,000

Key to Winning: Defendants' fear of Ethnic Intimidation statute's trebled damages in front of a jury

Attorney for Plaintiff: Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko, and Jarrett M. Pabst

Attorney for Defendant: Withheld

Art Van pays $1.375 million to end lawsuit against deceased father

In the media:

Type of Action: Wrongful Death (automobile accident)

Description of Case:

We understand that  no amount of money can bring this loved son, brother, father and friend back.  We hope that the proper questions are asked of the parties involved and that the family finally finds closure.

Lonnie Moore, Plaintiff, and his fiancée had just started a new chapter in their lives. Lonnie had a new job and they just had their first baby together five months prior. After months at home with just the baby, Lonnie decided they both needed just one night away from it all to celebrate their good fortune, future and new family. So, on the night of June 30, 2013, Lonnie and his fiancée set out for an evening in downtown Detroit. The evening was going great per Lonnie's brother, who was last person to talk to Lonnie, who received a phone call after the evening was underway and said he hadn't heard that much joy in his brother’s voice in months.

On their way back, their car experienced mechanical problems which affected some of the exterior lights, so they put on their hazards and continued at a reduced speed. The rest of what is known comes from a crucially important eyewitness, Steven Mildge, who was also a Border Patrol Officer and 15-year veteran truck driver who was traveling one lane over from Lonnie and Defendant Art Van’s tractor trailer rig. He said Lonnie's car was there to be seen, "plain as day", and that Defendant Art Van Truck Driver had "ample time to avoid what happened" and he did not understand why the truck did not simply switch lanes to avoid it. In fact, Eyewitness Mildge testified that he had enough time to think over and over and over again in his mind, “Why isn’t the Art Van truck taking evasive action? Why isn’t he pulling over? Why isn’t he doing something to avoid the crash?”, until finally, the eyewitness had to look away.

After the terrible rear-end collision by a huge Art Van semi-truck that killed the Art Van Driver claimed he had no recollection of even hitting the car.   After Defendant's driver admitted he wasn't paying attention while driving, Defendants then resorted to attempting to intimidate Lonnie's surviving family members, including his mom, the Personal Representative, by going on an all-out smear campaign against him. Specifically, Defendants deposed Lonnie’s ex-wife and ex-girlfriends and even their relatives, including Lonnie's 18 year-old daughter from his first marriage, to try to find someone who would say that Lonnie was a worthless person, a bad father. In other words, that Lonnie was someone a jury should not consider worthy and whose life didn't matter much. However, everybody testified the same way, namely, that Lonnie was a good and caring man, a great father, and their best friend.

This case settled through an Oakland County ADR panel for $1,375,000.

Attorneys for this case were Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko, Jarrett M. Pabst and Kenneth Karasick.

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Injuries Alleged: Lost future income, death, mental anguish, emotional distress

Name of Case: Moore v. Art Van, et al

Court: Oakland County Circuit Court

Case No: 14-139524-NI

Tried Before: N/A

Name of Judge: Patrick O'Brien

ADR/Settlement: $1,375,000

Special Damages: N/A

Date of Verdict: N/A

Genesee County Woman Settles Case Against Employer And Business’s Owner

In the Media: 

CASE SUMMARY

         Longtime major Genesee County business employee, Heather Anthony, settled her lawsuit against her former employer and the company’s owner, by accepting the case evaluation of $250,000.

            In May of 2012, Anthony was approached by Owner to meet her on a Saturday in a Grand Blanc parking lot.  Having worked for Owner for 15 years, Anthony did as requested.  Upon arriving, Owner entered her vehicle, offered to give her “what she needed” as she had “what he wanted”, forcibly kissed her, and left three $100 bills in her car’s cupholder.  Owner expected an ongoing pay-for-sex relationship.

            The shock of this made Anthony physically ill and created substantial emotional distress knowing that, although she refused his advances more than once, she would have to see Owner again, probably on a continual basis.  Significantly, Owner used his power and influence at the company to obtain Anthony’s cell phone number, which he used to call her – and no other employee – while he was out of town with his wife.  He also tried to meet with Anthony while in the office.

            Anthony reported the incident to the Company’s CEO who stated at her deposition that she believed Anthony.  CEO did an investigation, but did nothing satisfactory to resolve the issue, thereby leaving Anthony unable to work and constructively discharged from her only source of income and a job she successfully held for 15 years.  Anthony also made a report to the Grand Blanc Township Police Department.

            Defendant Company, in a Motion and Brief filed with the Court, took the position that Owner did “at most…what many men do, i.e. used his wealth and ability to provide material favors to a woman, as an inducement to enter into a sexual relationship.”  This outrageous position, coupled with the CEO's deposition testimony that she did not believe that Anthony was making the incident up to extort money from Owner and his company, essentially sealed Defendants’ fates.  Curiously, Defendants offered the purported extortionist and shake-down artist, Heather Anthony, her job back (!), which included handing out company paychecks to the employees she supervised!

            The case settled through Case Evaluation for a total sum of $250,000 - $75,000 as to Company, and $175,000 as to Owner.  Had the case gone to trial, Defendants would have had to pay trebled damages pursuant to Michigan's Ethnic Intimidation statute.

Articles:

Jury Agrees That Student Was Reckless During Gym Class

Attorney Michael Kowalko won a Jury Verdict in Genesee County Circuit Court, which  took him only 1½ days to try to the jury, and further, it tookthe jury only one hour to deliberate.  They found that defendant minor’s conduct was reckless and that there was zero comparative negligence on the part of plaintiff’s minor.

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