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Leizer Z Goldsmith
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Leizer Goldsmith’s Legal Cases

8 total

  • Friolo v. Frankel

    Practice Area:
    Appeals
    Date:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Outcome:
    PLAINTIFF WINS AT MARYLAND’S HIGHEST COURT
    Description:
    On February 27, 2008, The Maryland Court of Appeals issued its second ruling in favor of Mr. Goldsmith’s client, Joy Friolo, on the issue of attorneys' fees. The decision was noted in The Daily Record newspaper and the oral argument can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch? Ms. Friolo originally brought claims against Defendants Dr. Douglas Frankel and the Maryland/Virginia Med Trauma Group for unpaid bonuses and overtime. The case was tried over two days, June 25-26, 2001, before the Honorable Judge DeLawrence Beard. The jury awarded Ms. Friolo $11,778.85.00 for unpaid bonuses/breach of contract, and unpaid overtime, finding the Defendants both liable on all questions of liability presented to them. After the defendant’s unsuccessful Motion for New Trial by the Defendants, the parties litigated the attorneys' fees to be paid by the Defendant. Ignoring our fee petition seeking lodestar fees- the reasonable hourly rate times the number of hours reasonably expended on the representation, Judge Beard awarded forty percent of the verdict, which came to approximately $4,700.00, or approximately $17.00 per hour. After we appealed the fee ruling to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the Court of Appeals granted sua sponte certiorari-- meaning, it took the case without being asked. The question presented to the Maryland Court of Appeals was whether the Circuit Court judge erred in failing to apply the "lodestar" to an attorneys' fees petition under the Maryland Wage Payment and Overtime laws, and instead awarding forty percent of the judgment. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Ms. Friolo, stating that the purpose of the attorneys' fees provisions in the statutes is to enable individuals whose rights under the statutes have been violated to obtain counsel, even when their claims may be for small sums of money. In this regard, the Court recognized that the fee award may properly be higher than the damages amount in certain circumstances, and referred generally to the existence of federal precedent on that point. The employer attempted to convince the Court to treat the (wage payment) case differently from a civil rights case, but the Court declined to adopt any such distinction. The Court also rejected the notion that the statutes' "permissive" language (that fees may be awarded) could in any way undermine the fact that the purpose is remedial and that the usual result when the Plaintiff wins should be an award of fees. After the case was returned to the trial court, the defendant, Dr. Douglas Frankel, prevailed in 2006 at the intermediate appellate court, in arguing that Ms. Friolo was not entitled to shifted attorneys’ fees for the effort involved in obtaining the earlier victory before the Court of Appeals. However, the Court of Appeals has now reversed that ruling, underscoring the principle that under Maryland's wage payment and overtime laws, a plaintiff is entitled to reasonable fees for the efforts necessary to obtain any of her remedies, including attorneys' fees. After further litigation in the lower courts, Dr. Frankel filed for bankruptcy. Mr. Goldsmith represented Ms. Friolo’s interests before the bankruptcy court, persuading that court to permit resumption of the fees litigation. The Maryland Court of Appeals will be hearing the case for a third time in spring 2014, on the novel issue of whether the fees to be awarded should be reduced on account of the progression of settlement negotiations.
  • Orr v. Holder

    Practice Area:
    Employment and labor
    Date:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Outcome:
    VERDICT FOR DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL OF $1,350,000.00
    Description:
    On July 14, 2008, a jury of five men and three women at the federal court in San Juan, Puerto Rico, reached a verdict in the amount of $1,350,000.00, in favor of our client, Mick Orr, the former Assistant Chief Deputy United States Marshal for the District of Puerto Rico, in his case against the United States Marshals Service. Orr, 51, the Assistant Chief from 1999 to 2001, claimed that while he was Assistant Chief, then-United States Marshal Herman Wirshing and his Acting Chief, Juan Donato-Morales, discriminated against him because he is not from Puerto Rico, and retaliated against him because he protested the failure to promote, by denying him promotion to Chief and subjecting him to a hostile work environment. Orr presented evidence over nine days of trial, which convincingly demonstrated that Wirshing made numerous statements to the effect that he intended to promote only Puerto Ricans within management, and backed up those statements by manipulating the Marshals Service's personnel system with the assistance of headquarters personnel in Arlington, Virginia, in an elaborate scheme designed to keep Orr from ascending to Chief, and to advance Donato's chances of obtaining the job. The evidence revealed that Donato never did become the permanent chief because of an incident that caused him to leave the Service altogether. Before Orr left Puerto Rico in despair in early 2001, Wirshing and Donato carried out a pattern of harassment and intimidation against Orr and those who did not agree to participate in isolating him. Significant evidence was presented in the case that five local Puerto Rico police officers assigned to work as subordinates to Orr in his capacity as leader of the Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force were fired from the task force by Wirshing because they were viewed as loyal to Orr, including one who provided detailed testimony of how Donato called him away from the scene of a near arrest of a fugitive, to inform him that he was summarily fired from the task force without explanation. One of those officers was also denied a position in the Marshals Service that Wirshing had previously promised her. The police officers, as well as Marshals Service deputies on the Fugitive Task Force were asked by Donato if they were "Netas" or "insectos", analogizing to a conflict between the powerful prison gang and the snitches, implying that the officers should join Donato's gang. Deputies from the continental United States were belittled by references to them as "f-ing gringos" and sometimes a "gringo maricon (faggot)." Donato was quoted as saying that "these gringos are like the plague." Orr was explicitly placed under the authority of Donato, even though Donato was a lower-graded employee under the Marshals Service's national promotional system. He was warned of the obvious that there was an attempt underway to "screw him up" and was otherwise retaliated against. The jury returned a verdict for 1.35 Million Dollars. The agency was then ordered to pay the statutory maximum of $300,000.00, plus full back pay, and to instate the Plaintiff into a GS-15 or equivalent position (which it then did). Later, the case was concluded with payment of attorneys' fees and costs.
  • Walker v. West

    Practice Area:
    Litigation
    Date:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Outcome:
    HOUSEKEEPER WINS $150,000.00; FEES
    Description:
    On November 3, 2000, a jury of eight women in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, returned a verdict of $150,000.00 for emotional harms, in favor of Clarence Walker, Jr., a housekeeper at the Department of Veterans Affairs Washington Medical Center, and against the Department. Walker, a United States Army veteran himself, claimed that he was denied promotion from his housekeeping post to a higher paying housekeeping position in 1996, when he was unfairly rated not qualified for the promotion by a hospital "rating panel." At trial, Walker produced witnesses and documents to show that the panel was fixed against him because he had previously filed a discrimination complaint against the supervisor who controlled the panel (after the supervisor threatened to fire him because of a knee injury). Walker’s evidence included the testimony of a one of the panelists, who confessed to the misconduct, as well as "rating sheets" from the panel proceedings which supported Walker’s claim that the panelists improperly coordinated their ratings of applicants, rather than arriving at them independently. The damages awarded by the jury represented compensation for upset and anger over being unfairly passed over promotion, which resulted in personal turmoil for Walker, as well as the onset of migraine headaches. The Court also awarded fully compensatory attorneys' fees.
  • Johnson v. West

    Practice Area:
    Employment and labor
    Outcome:
    EMPLOYEE/PLAINTIFF WINS PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT, SETTLES
    Description:
    Judge Henry Kennedy, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, granted Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the issue of liability, in the disability discrimination case of Johnson v. Brown, Civil Action 96-01686. Judge Kennedy concluded that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs violated the Rehabilitation Act by terminating Plaintiff Michael Johnson's employment in 1995, while he was working on a light duty assignment making surgical packs. The Judge ruled that Johnson could have been permitted to remain in the light duty assignment indefinitely without imposing an undue burden on the Agency. Both a Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB") administrative judge and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") had previously ruled against Johnson and for the Agency. The case was subsequently settled under terms extremely favorable to Johnson.
  • Rainey v. Maximum Security

    Practice Area:
    Sexual harassment
    Date:
    Nov 01, 2005
    Outcome:
    Verdict for Plaintiff
    Description:
    Leizer Goldsmith obtained a judgment in 2005 for $200,806.00, for compensatory and punitive damages for sexual harassment, retaliation, and unpaid wages caused by Maximum Private Security Corporation and Mervin A. Gillespie (collectively “Defendants”). Mr. Goldsmith was also awarded full attorneys’ fees and costs in excess of $140,000.00.
  • Two Claimants v. Major Hotel Chain

    Practice Area:
    Arbitration
    Date:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Outcome:
    Arbitrator Awards to Each Claimant: $150,000.00
    Description:
    Two Claimants who were obligated by a mandatory arbitration agreement that precluded them from going to court, suffered severe sexual harassment during their employment at a Hotel. The Claimants’ supervisor hired her relative as Claimants’ co-worker. He engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment, targeting numerous victims that ultimately included Claimants. The harasser’s actions included physical assaults in which he would rub his penis on his victims’ bodies through their clothes, attempted hugs and kisses, indecent exposures, propositions, incessant questioning of his targets regarding sex, and far more. The harassment was known to the supervisor because, despite her denials, she saw and heard many of the actions herself, and because some express complaints reached her. Hotel gave the harasser a warning for harassing a woman before the Claimants came to the Company, but rather than progressively discipline him, they thereafter abdicated responsibility for preventing his misconduct. Understanding that he had carte blanche, the harasser proceeded to intimidate the entire department staff into tolerating his misbehavior. As one has stated, everyone would tell him to cut it out when he was in the midst of harassing a woman in full view of other employees, but that never stopped him from starting a new round of outrageous behavior later. The Harasser exposed himself and assaulted one Claimant on numerous occasions, and assaulted the other in full view of the supervisor, who did nothing. Soon thereafter, he was dragging a Claimant indicating every intention of raping her. At that point, Claimants both recognized that they had to overcome their fears and challenge Hotel to put a stop to the outrages they were experiencing. When they protested directly to the supervisor, the harasser voluntarily resigned without any pressure from management. However, in the period just after the harasser resigned, the Claimants experienced extreme hostility from their management. The Arbiter found that Claimants resigned thereafter. The Arbiter found that Hotel subjected the Claimants to a hostile environment by allowing the described harassment, and made awards of $150,000.00 to each, plus an additional award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Philbrick v. Holder

    Practice Area:
    Employment and labor
    Date:
    May 04, 2015
    Outcome:
    Summary Judgment Reversed by United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Case then settled
    Description:
    Obtained reversal of summary judgment decision, at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Philbrick v. Holder, 124 FEP 1102. This was an employment discrimination and retaliation case in which an administrative judge and federal trial judge all agreed to dismiss the case, before the Court of Appeals reversed and set the case for trial. It subsequently settled.
  • Foster v. University of Maryland Eastern Shore

    Practice Area:
    Employment and labor
    Date:
    Feb 22, 2016
    Outcome:
    $125,000.00 jury verdicat after summary judgment Reversed by United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
    Description:
    Employment retaliation case. The trial court granted summary judgment against Ms. Foster, thereby dismissing the case, but was reversed on appeal, requiring trial under Title VII. At trial in February 2016, Ms. Foster won a $125,000.00 verdict in the U.S. District Court, Baltimore