Oct 19

Brian Augenthaler

"Jayne Freeman Obtains Ninth Circuit Affirmance in Race Discrimination Lawsuit"

by Brian Augenthaler

KBM’s Jayne Freeman, with assistance from Brian Augenthaler and Derek Chen, recently had a summary judgment dismissal for the City of Bellevue affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case, Williams v. City of Bellevue, involved a former Bellevue police officer’s claims that he was harassed and discriminated against because of his race, then retaliated against for opposing discrimination. In federal district court, Jayne demonstrated with the City’s evidence that FTO’s had provided extensive training and opportunities for improvement, and the reason for the plaintiff’s failure to proceed past his probationary period was simply based on legitimate performance concerns and had nothing to do with his race. The federal district court agreed, granting the City’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing the lawsuit. Claims against the City’s police chief were also dismissed while the summary judgment motion was pending. The plaintiff appealed the summary judgment order to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court in all respects, holding that the plaintiff’s demonstrated performance in the field, not race discrimination, led to the City’s decision to terminate his employment. Congratulations Jayne, Brian & Derek!

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“Shannon Ragonesi and Keating Bucklin & McCormack, Inc., P.S., have given me renewed faith in the judiciary system of equal protection and fairness for all.”

Dr. Barbara Casey, Seattle