Pittsburgh partner Kyle McGee, assumed from another counsel the defense of a W.V. employer where a former employee presented allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation and reprisal under the West Virginia Human Rights Act, as well as a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. The plaintiff, a warehouse employee, complained of harassment and alleged rumors circulating in the workplace involving a sex act with a manager. Plaintiff thereafter complained due to her dissatisfaction with the company’s investigation. Ultimately, the Plaintiff was terminated and alleged that her termination was the result of her prior complaints about harassment.

Kyle presented a Motion for Summary Judgement contending our client responded to Plaintiff’s complaints with reasonable actions. The Court agreed, finding in our client’s favor on all counts finding the decision to terminate the Plaintiff’s employment could not have been based on her prior harassment complaints. Finally, the Court held that the public policies of the State of West Virginia that she claimed were violated by her termination were not implicated by the facts of this case.

Partners Emily Mahler, Kyle McGee, and Charlie Saul recently presented a webinar to a client [customer contact services operation] and their HR managers on Employer Hiring and Firing Practices. This live, interactive webinar has proven to be a valuable resource for employers in establishing fair, effective, and lawful hiring and firing practices. For more information or to schedule a similar web-based presentation, please contact the firm here.

Pittsburgh partner, Kyle McGee, defended the interests of an insurance company client in a matter where the policyholder presented a claim for damage to his property due to water and mold exposures. The claim was denied as the carrier found coverage was not afforded given the facts and plaintiff sued in West Virginia state court. Kyle arranged to remove the case to federal court and the court ultimately agreed with his Motion for Dismissal holding that the applicable named perils policy did not cover the loss, that the policy was unambiguous, and that our client acted in good faith in denying the claim. The insurance carrier’s representative was delighted commenting to Kyle: “It’s not easy to win one in West Virginia.”

Plaintiff, a former employee of our management company client, contended he was subjected to unlawful discrimination and harassment as the result of a disability relating to his eyesight, which was not contested and required that a 10 lbs. lifting restriction be in place as an accommodation. The plaintiff alleged a constructive discharge after nearly three and a half years of employment with the company, claiming that the 10 lbs. lifting restriction was not followed, that he was encouraged to violate the restriction, and that he was the subject of jokes and other negative comments attributable to his disability.

At the close of discovery, our colleague, Kyle McGee, Esq., contended in a Motion for Summary Judgement that our client complied with all aspects of the West Virginia Human Rights Act, did not subject the plaintiff to the conditions alleged, and fully accommodated his needs. The Court agreed and in support of Kyle’s Motion for Summary Judgment noted our client had, in fact, assigned the plaintiff to a job that generally did not require him to lift more than ten pounds, that plaintiff had successfully performed the job for three months before his resignation, and that the employer had provided temporary assistance to the plaintiff any time he needed to perform a task that may have violated his lifting restriction. Beyond this, the Court found that there was no causal link between the plaintiff’s alleged discrimination claims and his resignation. Rather, the court found that there existed insufficient evidence, if any, that would link his alleged constructive discharge to his disability.

Plaintiff, a former employee of our management company client, contended he was subjected to unlawful discrimination and harassment as the result of a disability relating to his eyesight, which was not contested and required that a 10 lbs. lifting restriction be in place as an accommodation. The plaintiff alleged a constructive discharge after nearly three and a half years of employment with the company, claiming that the 10 lbs. lifting restriction was not followed, that he was encouraged to violate the restriction, and that he was the subject of jokes and other negative comments attributable to his disability.

At the close of discovery, our colleague, Kyle McGee, Esq., contended in a Motion for Summary Judgement that our client complied with all aspects of the West Virginia Human Rights Act, did not subject the plaintiff to the conditions alleged, and fully accommodated his needs. The Court agreed and in support of Kyle’s Motion for Summary Judgment noted our client had, in fact, assigned the plaintiff to a job that generally did not require him to lift more than ten pounds, that plaintiff had successfully performed the job for three months before his resignation, and that the employer had provided temporary assistance to the plaintiff any time he needed to perform a task that may have violated his lifting restriction. Beyond this, the Court found that there was no causal link between the plaintiff’s alleged discrimination claims and his resignation. Rather, the court found that there existed insufficient evidence, if any, that would link his alleged constructive discharge to his disability.

In a case of first impression in the PA US District Court, Pittsburgh colleagues Miles Kirshner & Kyle McGee successfully argued a contribution action by an insurer of a drunk driver against our restaurant licensee was not actionable. The insurer paid $600,000 on behalf of their vehicle operator to resolve the claim of his passenger. The driver and passenger had been customers at our client’s restaurant and the insurer seeking contribution contended the operator was over-served.

Miles & Kyle argued the cause of action asserted against our licensee was not cognizable under the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, as the plaintiff insurer and its insured driver were not “third persons” permitted to recover damages under the Liquor Code. The court agreed reying on the protection afforded to licensees under the PA Liquor Code which “… only allows third persons to recover against a liquor license holder… for the injuries inflicted upon them” (emphasis from the court).

The claim professional commented: “This is a fantastic outcome!!!! You guys did an excellent job with the strategy that you proposed. I can’t wait to broadcast this result and take a smidge of credit.”