Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What Makes A Giant Into. . . "A Bully"? Merck's Jury Win -- Then It Seeks Its Costs, From Mom, With Kids

UPDATED: Noon, EDT -- Please take the poll at top left margin. As a reader, what do YOU think? Overreach, or prudent -- to seek return of the shareholders' $68,000 (which may cost over $100,000 in additional legal fees -- to ultimately recover).

The law plainly allows this sort of odious behavior -- I just find it. . . a little over the top, and immoral, truthfully.

From Judge Chesler's earlier opinions, it was clear that the claimant -- a mom with more than one child -- made out a prima facie case. She repeated in good faith and truthfully, what was said to her, regarding her pregnancy -- and leave.

In the end, the jury found that her termination was not primarily due to her pregnancy status, nor her decision to take a protected family leave.

But now, Merck (and more likely -- the individual defendants) have caused their lawyers to file a motion (that's a full text PDF file) with Judge Chesler, in New Jersey federal District Court, to have the mom pay THEM about $68,000 in costs they say they incurred. To be clear, these are not the attorneys' hourly fees -- just charges for photocopies, messengers, court transcripts, and the like. Even so -- this seems to me to be bullying behavior.

For the record, I will note that both of the individual defendants almost certainly had D&O coverage from Merck, as a self insurer at this level of expense, for all these funds.

That is, no one -- except a multinational corporation with well over $42 billion in revenue last year -- is out $68,000, here. And that could easily be half of the mom's annual cash salary, in her new job, after taxes. Mr. Frazier -- please instruct your lawyers to withdraw their motion -- it is redolent of the dank odor of overreach.

Here endeth the sermon.

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