Week Adjourned: 10.21.11

The weekly wrap up of class action lawsuits and lawsuit settlements for October 21, 2011

Top Class Actions

Sex discrimination—still? Really? Yup—and this time the company doing the dirty was owned by a woman—Ruth U. Fertel. However, she passed away in 2002, and it looks like things have regressed since then. And the company is….Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Four former and current employees filed a sex discrimination class action alleging they were discriminated against for pay and promotions.

The women’s jobs ranged from national sales manager to bartender, and they brought the suit in October 2010. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has now granted the Ruth’s Chris Steak House discrimination suit plaintiffs the right to add class action claims to the lawsuit.

The women also allege that they suffered sexual advances in the work environment at the steak house chain, including physical groping, sexual innuendo and retaliation against those who complained or reported sexual harassment. Hey—the meat’s on the plate boys…

Top Settlements

Who says the little guy can’t win? A $160k settlement has been awarded to a former employee of retail giant Target, ending his discrimination lawsuit against the company. Jeremy Schott, who filed the lawsuit, took medical leave in 2004 due to his experiencing a seizure. He was 29 years old at the time. In his lawsuit, he alleged that when he returned to work his weekly hours had been reduced from 17 to eight. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Target on Schott’s behalf, alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Target’s counsel contended that Schott’s work hours were decreased because of poor performance and a lack of motivation. The parties agreed to settle for $160,000. As part of the settlement Target has agreed to designate an ADA coordinator and implement a policy regarding reasonable accommodations.

Defective Pool Slide Settlement. This is very sad… The widower and child of a young woman who died as a result of a defective inflatable pool slide purchased from Toys “R” Us have been awarded a $20.6 million settlement this week by the judge hearing the personal injury lawsuit.

The accident that took Robin Aleo’s life happened five years ago, when she was just 29 years old. She had an 18-month old daughter at the time. Aleo was at a pool party at a relative’s home when she decided to go down the six foot Banzai Falls slide head first. When she neared the bottom the slide suddenly bottomed out and Aleo hit her head on the edge of the pool, breaking her neck and sending her to hospital unable to breathe on her own and paralyzed. She died at the hospital the following day.

According to a report in the EagleTribune, Aleo is the second person to have allegedly been paralyzed by an incident involving the Banzai Falls slide. According to court records, more than 4,000 of the slides were sold nationwide, without having been tested to see if it met federal safety standards.

Ok – That’s it for this week. See you at the bar.

 

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