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The final assessment for this course is based upon the hypothetical case “Pick Me.” Please review the facts of the case and then proceed to address the questions that follow.
Case: “Pick Me”
Regina Foxwell is employed as a detention officer with the Howard County, Maryland, Department of Corrections. She was hired in September 1994. During the first three years of her career, Ms. Foxwell was one of the most vocal leaders and opposed work practices that she believed were discriminatory to women. For instance, she opposed a policy that prohibited a female officer from being assigned to the men’s housing units at the jail unless she was partnered with a male detention officer. As such, women had been prevented from gaining the type of experience that often led to career advancement. Moreover, there were very few women officers in supervisory positions.
In 1996, Regina applied for a promotion to sergeant, which is a first-level supervisory position. She was selected for the position but then declined the offer because she wanted to concentrate on studying for her undergraduate degree in criminal justice. She felt the demands of the job would distract her from finishing her degree. Ultimately, she obtained her degree in 1997.
Foxwell applied for promotion again in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Each time she was deemed to meet the minimum qualifications of the job and referred for interview. She was, in fact, interviewed on each occasion but was never selected. The people who were selected in 2000 and 2008 were men. The person selected in 2004 was a woman. None of the people selected in 2000, 2004, and 2008 had a record of making any discrimination complaints against the Department of Corrections.
After not being selected for promotion in 2008, Ms. Foxwell has filed a civil lawsuit, alleging retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The relief requested is to be given the promotion, back pay, and $500,000 in compensatory damages. The director of the Department of Corrections is Brian Coleman. He has been the director since 1993.
She was retaliated against for voicing opposition to widespread discriminatory practices during the early 1990s. There is no other explanation for her failure to be promoted in 2000, 2004, and 2008. She is more qualified now than she was in 1996, when she was offered the promotion. She has more seniority than any of the people who were selected.
Howard County Defense
There was no retaliation. The interviews are conducted by a panel of three people, each of whom scores the candidates during the oral interview. The individual scores from each panelist are averaged for a final score. The person with the highest final score is recommended to the director for promotion. The director does not sit on the interview panel.
The director always accepts the recommendation of the interview panel. On each occasion in 2000, 2004, and 2008, the person with the highest score was recommended and ultimately selected.
Employers are not allowed to take adverse employment actions (including failure to promote) against an employee because the employee opposes employment practices that he or she honestly believes are discriminatory.
This Assessment has five parts.
Would the following information be discoverable under FRCP 26(b)? Explain your answer in each case, including whether the requesting party would need to show good cause. (Note: Each response is worth 5 points.)
1. interview score sheets used during the 2008 promotion process
2. any mental health or drug abuse counseling Director Coleman has undergone in the last 10 years
3. names of all employees who ever complained about discrimination at the Department of Corrections from 1994 through the present
4. hire dates for all people selected for promotion to sergeant in 2000, 2004, and 2008
5. identities of all inmates ever housed at the Department of Corrections from 2000 through 2008
Audrey Wilkins represents Howard County in the lawsuit brought by Regina Foxwell. Ms. Wilkins interviewed Jason Foy, who was one of the people on the interview panel in 2008. Mr. Foy is also a member of the Maryland Reserves and has been deployed to Iraq. Ms. Wilkins interviewed Jason Foy before he was deployed and wrote a memo to the file regarding the interview. The memo is located at the end of Part II (following the questions). (Note: Each response is worth 5 points.)
1. Assuming that attorney-client privilege does not apply, is there another privilege that Howard County could argue applies to the attached memo? Explain your answer.
2. What argument could the plaintiff raise to show that she is entitled to receive the memorandum, even if it is privileged? Fully explain your answer.
3. Remember, some information is protected by absolute privilege. First, describe the type of information that falls within this category. Second, underline all portions of the memo that would be protected by this privilege. If no portion of the memo falls within the category of absolute privilege, indicate “Not applicable.”
Audrey Wilkins’s Memo to the File
Memo to File
From: Audrey Wilkins
On January 19, 2009, I interviewed Jason Foy. Mr. Foy was a panel member who interviewed candidates for the sergeant promotion. The interview was recorded with Foy’s consent. I found Foy to be a very credible witness.
The following is the transcription of the interview.
Audrey: What role did you play in the promotions for sergeant that occurred in 2008?
Foy: I was on the interview panel. I was sort of in charge of averaging all of the scores for all panel members and reporting those scores to the director.
Audrey: How many people were on the panel?
Foy: Three, me and two others.
Audrey: Who was selected?
Foy: Robert Winner.
Foy: Well, Director Coleman makes the actual selection. But from my experience, he always selects who the interview panel recommends. In this case, we recommended Robert.
Audrey: Why did the panel recommend Robert?
Foy: Because he had the highest score.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
The interview occurred in my office. As long as I can show that the plaintiff did not get the promotion because she did not score the highest, we can win this case. The key is the credibility of the panel members. As long as their testimony is consistent, the plaintiff does not have a chance.
Both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules for a specific federal trial court are important to research in determining proper discovery practice. State whether the following would be an appropriate number of discovery requests in the United States District Court for Maryland. Your answer must include a citation to the rule that supports your response. (Note: Each response is worth 5 points.)
1. 42 requests for production of documents
2. 24 interrogatories
3. 32 admissions requests
4. 15 depositions
5. 30 interrogatories
Draft discovery requests according to the following instructions. (I want requests only—no case captions, definitions, instructions, etc.). The requests you draft in (1) and (2) must be different. (Note: Each request is worth 1 point.)
1. You represent the defendant in “Pick Me” and are serving discovery requests on the plaintiff. Draft four interrogatories, three document requests, and three requests for admissions.
2. You represent the plaintiff in “Pick Me” and are serving discovery requests on the defendant. Draft four interrogatories, three document requests, and three requests for admissions.
“Pick Me” is pending in the Unites States District Court for the District of Maryland and is therefore subject to the electronic case-filing procedures. The County served the plaintiff with an interrogatory, asking the plaintiff to state all facts that support her claim of retaliation. Plaintiff Foxwell’s response was, “Plaintiff will state all facts during the trial.” The County is dissatisfied with this response and decides to file a motion to compel.
1. Pursuant to the Local Rules, describe in detail all that must occur before the court considers the County’s motion to compel. (Note: worth 10 points)
2. Does the same process described in your answer to question 1 apply to a situation in which a non-party fails to respond to a request for doc
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