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United States (National)
We are 800+ lawyers serving clients from 12 offices located in the leading financial and business centers in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The world’s leading organizations, companies and corporations choose us to be their representatives in their most critical situations. Proskauer’s reputation for excellence in Labor & Employment law has been well-earned for nearly a century. We are at the cutting-edge: setting precedents, devising winning strategies, defending class actions, securing landmark victories and providing sage counsel.
Select recent representations include:
In litigation that lasted over five years, we represented Chicago State University, five members of its Board of Trustees and the former University President in a lawsuit brought by the University’s former General Counsel. He alleged whistleblower retaliation claims under the First Amendment and the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, as well as a denial of due process claim arising from the termination of his employment. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted our clients summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, adopting nearly all of our arguments.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of our client, Major League Baseball (“MLB”), in a lawsuit commenced by Angel Hernandez, a current Major League umpire. Hernandez sued MLB in 2017, alleging that he was passed over for multiple crew chief openings and for World Series assignments because of his Cuban heritage. He brought claims of disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination under federal, New York State and New York City anti-discrimination laws. MLB denied that Hernandez’s job assignments had anything to do with his race or national origin.
Proskauer provides McDonald’s Corporation with day-to-day counselling on its most significant and complex employment-related disputes originating at both the corporation level and the restaurant level. One of our McDonald’s teams successfully moved for partial dismissal of sexual harassment claims filed by a former McDonald’s Corporation employee in the Northern District of Illinois. The Complaint relied on these facts to state Title VII claims of sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation; as well as a common law intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) claim and a “constructive discharge” claim of unspecified origin. The Proskauer team moved to dismiss these claims as preempted by the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), arguing that plaintiff cannot establish independent claims for IIED and constructive discharge without relying on the duties and rights under the IHRA. The Court agreed and dismissed both claims, finding them to be “inextricably linked” to the plaintiff’s potential IHRA claims for which she is seeking redress under Title VII; and noting that Illinois does not recognize a freestanding claim of “constructive discharge.”
Defending Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. and three individually named defendants, including the Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine and former Director of the Arnhold Institute of Global Health, in a lawsuit in which eight current and former AIGH employees asserted claims of gender discrimination and other forms of discrimination and retaliation. The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the federal claims of four of the eight plaintiffs. Those plaintiffs subsequently filed a New York State and New York City claims in state court. Two of the plaintiffs have been dismissed entirely from that action and the discrimination claims of a third plaintiff were also dismissed. This matter is ongoing.
Proskauer represents the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Recording Academy / THE GRAMMY Organization), a California-based, non-profit organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other recording professionals, as well as MusiCares, the charitable arm of the GRAMMY Organization. We have served as lead counsel in numerous litigation matters filed against the GRAMMY Organization and recently headed the defense team representing the GRAMMYs in the high-profile (and highly publicized) dispute with its former President/CEO, Deborah Dugan. We also represented the GRAMMYs and MusiCares in a now satisfactorily resolved lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court by the former Vice President of MusiCares, Dana Tomarken.
On behalf of the National Hockey League (“NHL”), Proskauer obtained dismissals of negligence and misrepresentation claims brought by two former NHL players, Daniel Carcillo and Nicholas Boynton. Carcillo and Boynton sued the league, alleging that the NHL negligently increased their risk of brain damage, drug addiction and depression by permitting and promoting fighting in games, and that the NHL failed to warn them and misrepresented the alleged long-term effects of concussions. The decision in the Carcillo/Boynton action followed a decision dismissing similar claims brought on behalf of the estate of former NHL player Steven Montador. The complaint in that action also asserted a variety of negligence and related tort claims asserting that the NHL had exposed Montador to unreasonable risks by permitting and promoting fighting and failing to disclose the risks of long-term brain damage resulting from concussions. The court dismissed the bulk of Montador’s claims as preempted by federal labor law.
Proskauer represented The Rockefeller University in an alleged dispute relating to the discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion and national origin. The Plaintiff also alleged that Rockefeller retaliated against her. The case went to trial which lasted 4 weeks. At the conclusion, Rockefeller prevailed on all but one claim; as to that one claim the plaintiff ultimately received $250,000 in lost wages and 200,000 in emotional distress damages with no award of punitive damages. The jury originally returned a verdict of $2,250,000 but that verdict was reduced by the judge to $450,000, and the reduction affirmed by the Second Circuit.
Proskauer represents Walmart Inc. in a putative class action filed by plaintiff in California federal court alleging that employees were required to use their personal cell phones for work and were not reimbursed. In opposing class certification for Walmart, we argued that in light of the company’s lawful reimbursement policy, individualized inquiries were necessary to determine whether and why employees may have used the apps on their cell phones to assist customers. We supported the motion with declarations from numerous putative class members showing that employees chose to use their personal phones out of convenience rather than requirement, and that Walmart provided associates with many other devices to assist customers. The Court denied class certification finding that no common evidence could resolve the individualized issues that Walmart identified for thousands of class members.
Updated Sep 2023