Quin v. County of Kauai Dep’t. of Transp., 2013 WL 3814916 (9th Cir. 2013)

Kathleen M. Ah Quin contends that her employer (the Kauai Department of Transportation) discriminated against her because she is a woman. While pursuing her discrimination action, Quin filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and failed to list the lawsuit as an asset in her bankruptcy schedules where she was required to disclose same. After Quin’s lawyer became aware of the potential effect of the bankruptcy proceeding – and after the district court was notified and vacated all dates and deadlines and scheduled a status conference – Quin moved to reopen her bankruptcy case in order to amend her bankruptcy schedules to list the pending lawsuit as an additional asset. The district court held that Quin was judicially estopped from proceeding with the discrimination lawsuit and granted summary judgment in favor of the employer. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed (over a strong dissent from Circuit Judge Bybee), holding that the district court should not have applied a presumption of deceit on Quin’s part (in not initially disclosing the existence of the lawsuit) and should, instead, have inquired into whether the omission in the bankruptcy proceeding was in fact inadvertent or mistaken. See also Smith v. Clark County School Dist., 2013 WL 4437599 (9th Cir. 2013) (employee provided sufficient explanations for the inconsistencies between her ADA disability claim and her Public Employees’ Retirement System (“PERS”) and FMLA claims to survive summary judgment).