April 19, 2017
Authored by: Bill Wortel
Dishonest plaintiffs can make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to successfully move for summary judgment. Indeed, a dishonest plaintiff who understands the legal landscape can easily defeat summary judgment by claiming that there exists “direct evidence” of discrimination in the form of an admission by management that the challenged employment action was motivated by discriminatory animus (e.g., “my supervisor told me he was firing me because of my age”).
While there sometimes is nothing that can be done about a dishonest plaintiff other than attack his/her credibility in front of a jury, it is critical to ensure that that all early dismissal strategies are explored before reaching the dispositive motion stage of case. These early dismissal strategies include examination of plaintiffs’ representations in their post-employment bankruptcy petitions and in forma pauperis (“IFP”) applications.
Those new to employment litigation may be surprised by the percentage of plaintiffs that file for bankruptcy and/or seek IFP status. It is not uncommon for plaintiffs to have filed for bankruptcy following the termination of their employment. Nor is it uncommon for plaintiffs, especially those proceeding pro se, to request permission from the court to proceed without the payment of a filing fee (i.e., to proceed in forma pauperis). Of course, these mechanisms serve an important function in society, and this post is not intended to discourage their use by honest litigants. Rather, this article outlines defense strategies for dealing with dishonest litigants who seek the discharge of their debts in bankruptcy and/or the