Thursday, September 05, 2013

Alamo v. Practice Management Info. Group (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 5, 2013)

Congratulations.  I guess.

Defendant fires one of its employees a mere three hours after she returns from a three-month maternity leave.  She sues -- shockingly, I know -- for pregnancy discrimination.  She wins at trial.

Defendant appeals.  Loses the appeal.  But the California Supreme Court's hearing a pending case about the jury instructions in these sorts of cases, and decides it defendant's way, so thereafter sends the case back to the Court of Appeal.  Which, today, reverses the judgment and remands for a new trial with the correct instructions.

Normally that's an unambiguous win.

But as I noted when the original Court of Appeal opinion came out last year, defendant only got hit for $10,000 in damages at trial, and $50,000 in fees.  Not devastating.

It remains to be seen what happens on remand.  Sure, maybe defendant prevails.  Or maybe it gets spanked with $100,000+ in damages and $200,000+ in fees.  This time with correct instrucions, so it stands.

Could easily happen.

So maybe it's a win.  Or maybe it's a Phrrhic victory.

Time will tell.