Morgan Lewis & Bockius won three summary judgment victories for client Novo Nordisk over three days in October, defeating age discrimination and retaliation claims by three former employees.
The first win for the firm’s Miami labor and employment group came in a case where two former female employees alleged their supervisor targeted them for investigation and termination because of their ages and sex and in retaliation for filing internal complaints of discrimination.
Lead attorney Mark Zelek, managing partner of the firm’s Miami office and chair of the firm’s international labor and employment practice, prepared two summary judgment motions, after which both women voluntarily dismissed age discrimination claims and one jettisoned a retaliation claim.
Attorneys successfully argued Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceuticals giant, had legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for firing both women. After oral argument Oct. 15, a federal judge in the Northern District of Florida granted summary judgment.
Two days later, Novo Nordisk prevailed against age discrimination and retaliation claims by a long-term male employee.
He initially filed the claims with the state Division of Administrative Hearings but dismissed them a few days before a hearing was to be held. He then filed the same claims in the Middle District of Florida.
The Morgan Lewis team, again led by Zelek, filed a motion for protective order to prevent the employee from seeking any further discovery beyond that conducted before the state division. The judge granted the motion and awarded Novo Nordisk nearly $5,000 in attorney fees.
“Basically, the federal court judge ruled that the plaintiff was not allowed a ‘second bite of the apple’ round of discovery in court because the plaintiff wasn’t happy with the discovery in the DOAH case,” Zelek said in a statement.
After prevailing on discovery, the firm filed a motion for summary judgment, which the judge granted Oct. 17.
Morgan Lewis has 12 labor and employment litigators in its Miami office.
In 2013, the firm’s Florida labor and employment attorneys were involved in 72 wage and hour class actions, 82 individual plaintiffs employment cases, 20 systemic employment litigation matters and 24 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrations.