Shelley v. Geren, 666 F.3d 599 (9th Cir. 2012)

After Devon Scott Shelley applied for but was not promoted to be Chief of Contracting for the Army Corps of Engineers, he filed this lawsuit alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The district court granted summary judgment to the Corps based upon the Supreme Court’s opinion in Gross v.

Yesterday, in a highly anticipated 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Ricci v. DeStefano that the City of New Haven engaged in unlawful intentional race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) when it discarded a firefighter promotional test because of the racial makeup of the successful test takers. The City claimed that the test had a disparate impact on minorities and that, if it certified the test results and proceeded with promotions, it would have been sued for discrimination by minority test takers. The Court held that the City had to show a strong basis in evidence that it would be liable in such a suit – something more than the statistical results of the test – in order to justify throwing out the test and discriminating against the successful test takers, most of whom were white. It further held that, upon its review of the factual record, the City could not meet this burden. Reversing the Second Circuit (which had affirmed the trial court decision), it found that summary judgment should be entered against the City. The factual background of the case, opinion of the Court and the implications of the case for employers are discussed below.

Alexander v. Codemasters Group Ltd., 104 Cal. App. 4th 129 (2002)

Craig Alexander alleged breach of contract against Codemasters (a United Kingdom-based computer game company) for its failure to provide Alexander (a former executive with the company) with options to purchase 35,000 shares of Codemasters’ stock at an exercise price of $3.25 per share. In its successful motion for summary judgment, Codemasters asserted that