Race Discrimination case at U.S.Court of Appeals

Today, we have oral argument before 3 judges at the U.S.Court of Appeals in New Orleans, on a race discrimination case. This is one court below the U.S.Supreme Court.

The case is called Linda Criner vs. Texas New Mexico Power (TNMP) Company. We represent Linda Criner, an employee of TNMP, who stated in her lawsuit that she was being discriminated against because of her race. Ms. Criner is black and the evidence showed that most of her co-workers are white. Further, she alleged that she was constantly turned down for promotions within the company because of her race. Her filings with the court talked about a “good ole boy” network within the company where almost all promotions she applied for, go to white men.

Despite the large amount of evidence filed with the U.S.District Court in Houston, the judge refused to allow Ms. Criner to have a jury trial. Instead, the judge dismissed the case completely, on the company’s motion for summary judgment.

While such motions are common, many judges still allow the case to go to trial, in order to let the jury decide. In this case, Ms. Criner never had her day in court.

An appeal was filed, and, in an unusual move, the U.S.Court of Appeals, granted oral argument. This is unusual because many times the court of appeals will simply read the lawyers’ briefs and make a decision without hearing oral argument.

The case will be argued by Lauren Schlossberg of our Miami office, at the court of appeals today. Typically it takes 30-90 days to receive a decision. Ms. Criner, the alleged victim of the race discrimination plans to attend the oral argument in New Orleans, as well.

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About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

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