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In an opinion handed down Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit determined that a portion of a discrimination case filed against Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll will be allowed to move forward. The trial court had previously granted Ballard Spahr’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by a former employee.

The case stems from the 2004 firing of Vanessa McFadden, who had worked in the firm’s Washington office as a legal secretary since 1989. McFadden took a leave of absence from the firm in October 2002, when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. McFadden began to have health problems of her own in April 2003. According to the D.C. Circuit’s opinion, written by Judge Douglas Ginsburg and joined by Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas Griffith, McFadden suffered from Graves’ disease, fibromyalgia, depression and other ailments.

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