Florida Injury and Employment Attorneys

It’s Been a Good Year: Detailing Our 2017 Successes in the Court of Appeals

December 4, 2017

2017 was a landmark year for the legal team at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC. Although we always strive for our clients in their fight against unlawful employment practices, we’ve had an exceptional amount of success this year in the court of appeals – specifically the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Reversals

Our list of accomplishments includes not just one, but three case reversals:

  • Scott Axel v. Fields Motorcars of Florida, Inc. This was a labor case in which the plaintiff (Scott Axel) sued Fields Motorcars for receiving zero compensation for fifteen months on the basis of being a trainee and not a formal employee – despite sharing job responsibilities with employees. Initially, the summary judgement concluded that the plaintiff was not technically an employee and ruled in favor of Fields Motorcars. However, after an appeal, it was determined that material issues of fact remain. As a result, the judgement was reversed, and the case was remanded back to the lower courts for another decision.
  • Jill Diamond v. Hospice of Florida Keys, Inc. In this case, a clinical social worker sued her former employer for interfering with her Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights and additionally firing her in retaliation for taking FMLA leave. Initially. the district court granted summary judgement to the hospice because the plaintiff failed to establish a strong case for both of her claims. However, after an appeal, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that there was indeed sufficient evidence supporting the plaintiff’s claims of interference and retaliation. As a result, this judgement was reversed and remanded for further deliberation.
  • Rodney Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, LLC. Rodney Jones, the plaintiff, alleged that his employer interfered with his use of FMLA leave, and also retaliated against him as a result. The lower court granted summary judgement for the employer on both counts, but an appeal by the plaintiff resulted in an affirmation of the initial claim surrounding FMLA interference, and a reversal and remanding of the judgement regarding retaliation. According to the circuit court, there was enough pretext to believe that the employer’s justifications for terminating the plaintiff were inconsistent and implausible at best, leading to doubt that the firing was not, in fact, retaliatory.

Case Affirmations

Our legal team has also had success in fighting appeals against our clients.

Shawn Meeks v. Pasco County Sheriff

This case involved a summary judgement in favor of the plaintiff, but the employers appealed the decision. After deliberation, the initial judgement was affirmed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Why is This a Big Deal?

All four of these cases were represented by the Tampa lawyers at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC – and all of them ended up ruling in favor of us. Typically, it can be difficult to get even 1 reversal on an appeal – so for us to receive 3 reversals in just one year is incredibly rare. Add that to an affirmation of the initial ruling in the Meeks v. Pasco County Sheriff case, and that means we’ve received 4 positive orders from a federal appellate court – a nearly unprecedented achievement to accomplish in just one year.

These are the types of results you can expect with our team of utmost professionals. We have the experience, the compassion, and the determination not to give up on your case – and we stick with you even through the appeals process, especially if you have a strong case to do so.

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