Case Summaries: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Newsletter Volume: 
Newsletter - January 2004
January

Anti-Discrimination Laws Do Not Apply to Public Health Officer, in his capacity as Officer of the Armed Services

Durand Hedin v. Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary, Dep’t of Health and Human Servs., No. 03-1474 (4th Cir. Jan 20, 2004) Motz, J.

The Court held that a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service should be deemed an officer in active military service with the Armed Forces for purposes of anti-discrimination laws. Because military officers are exempt from anti-discrimination statutes, the district court properly dismissed the officers age discrimination claim against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To read the opinion, go to: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/4th/031474p.pdf.

Newsletter Volume: 
Newsletter - January 2004
January

Fourth Circuit Rejects Cat’s Paw Theory in Discrimination Suit

Ethel Louise Hill v. Lockheed Martin, No. 01-1359 (4th Cir. Jan. 5, 2004), Traxler, J (en banc 7-4)

The district court did not err in granting summary judgment to an employer in a discrimination
suit brought under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act where the plaintiff claimed that she was terminated because of the discriminatory actions of a co-worker who had no formal role in the decision. The Court found that a biased employee who does not have supervisory or disciplinary authority does not become a decision maker because he had a substantial influence on the ultimate decision.

Newsletter Volume: 
Newsletter - January 2004
January

Union Found to have Fulfilled its Duty of Fair Representation

Jeffreys v. Communications Workers of America AFLCIO and U.S. Airways Inc., No. 03-1378 (4th Cir. Dec. 31, 2003), Wilkinson, J.

The District Court did not err in granting summary judgement to the defendant union as a matter of law because the union had not breached its duty of fair representation to its members because its conduct was not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith. The defendant union reached a deliberated and democratic decision that was consistent with the contractual language and with the view of the majority of its members. Daniel Katz represented the appellee.

Newsletter Volume: 
Newsletter - January 2004
January