Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tarquini v. Superior Products, Inc. (U.S.D.C.)(Not Approved for Publication)

Filed March 12, 2007 – Memorandum Opinion by Judge James K. Bredar

Plaintiff Tarquini, a former sales representative for Defendant Superior Products, brought this suit for wrongful discharge and violation of federal, Maryland and Virginia equal pay acts, violation of the Maryland Wage Payment Collection Act, breach of contract, and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In response to Superior’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court found that Tarquini’s claims based on Title VII and the Equal Pay Act alleging gender-based wage discrimination were not time-barred to the extent that a jury could find the violations willful (which extends the limitations period to three years). Tarquini’s sexually hostile environment claim also was not time-barred because, under the “continuing violation” doctrine, a letter terminating Ms. Tarquini within the statutory time period could serve as an act contributing to the alleged hostile environment, thereby allowing acts outside the limitation period to be brought in to support the claim.

The Court also denied summary judgment for Superior as to Tarquini’s retaliatory discharge claim. Although the Judge considered it undisputed that Tarquini was an at-will employee, other terms of her employment could permit Tarquini's claims based on breach of contract and violation of the Maryland Wage Payment Collection Act, so summary judgment on those issues also was dened.

The Court granted summary judgment as to Tarquini’s ADA claims after finding that she had not sufficiently demonstrated that she had a disability under the ADA. Finally, the Court granted summary judgment as to abusive discharge, since it is a judicial exception to create a remedy where none exists by statute and, in this case, Tarquini had statutory remedies available.

The full opinion is available in PDF as is the Order.

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