In early 2020, ND defended a national homebuilder in an age discrimination and wrongful termination claim – the first labor & employment lawsuit the company had faced. For a company still in the early stages of developing its business, reputation and culture, labor & employment litigation posed significant reputational and financial risk.
ND’s team, including partner Michael Studenka and associate Jasmine Shams, leveraged extensive trial experience to prepare the company as it waded into uncharted territory. The team expertly guided the company through the nuances of the lawsuit, understanding how detrimental they can be for companies who are looking to establish their reputation and build a positive work environment. This case held particular significance given that it was within California, which is typically seen as an employee-friendly state.
After five full days of arbitration which saw the testimony of 13 witnesses scattered across the country, the arbitrator issued the final award in favor of ND’s client finding no liability for the employer. This total defense saved the client from an award that was seeking over $560,000 in lost wages and non-economic damages, $2 million in punitive damages, and up to $400,000 in attorney fees. Despite employers in California viewing successes in labor & employment disputes as an uphill battle due to legislation and legal precedent within the state, the total defense here held testament to the value of dogged determination, persistence and the client-first mentality embodied by the ND legal team.