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How to lose a lawsuit: Just ignore it

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A New York employer has learned the hard way that simply ignoring a lawsuit won’t make it go away. In fact, doing so merely assures the plaintiff will win. And it’s almost impossible to undo a so-called default judgment.

Recent case: Tiffany worked at a preschool. She complained to management that the assistant director had sexually harassed her. The CEO happened to be the assistant director’s mother, and she allegedly fired Tiffany rather than investigate. Neither the assistant director nor the CEO bothered responding to the lawsuit.

The judge then ordered a default judgment. The defendants tried to open the case, but the court refused. Instead, it ordered the employer to pay Tiffany $19,000 in lost wages, $75,000 for emotional distress, $50,000 in punitive damages, and more. Plus, Tiffany’s attorney will receive $41,000 for his efforts. (Manswell v. Heavenly Miracle Academy et al., ED NY, 2017)

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