May 8, 2018

Three-Week Trial Ends in Victory for Municipality

When an applicant for a firefighter position in the Township of Cranford was not hired, he sued the municipality, claiming disability discrimination based upon post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical issues related to his military service.  Cranford, SPSK’s client, denied discrimination and strongly and consistently argued that it did not hire the individual due to a legitimate non-discriminatory business reason. 

The pretrial demand was $2.2 million.  The trial team was very concerned about a decision being influenced by jurors’ sympathy for the plaintiff’s combat-inflicted condition and appreciation for his honorable service in the military.

The case was tried over nearly three weeks in Union County.  The SPSK team was led by partner John Ursin and included partner Cynthia Flanagan and counsel Sandra Calvert Nathans.  The verdict was a ‘no cause’ in favor of the municipality, a complete win for the defense.

“This was a very hard battle with difficult and complex facts and law,” says Ursin. “There was much at stake, but justice prevailed as we always believed that our municipal client was right and had not committed acts of discrimination.  Sometimes employers have to take these cases all the way to protect their reputation and prevent other unfounded claims.  The expertise, depth and teamwork of our litigators was highlighted in this case and was a key to victory for the client.”

The matter was Ursin’s third jury trial victory in two years, and his second in an employment discrimination/New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit.

Cranford Township Administrator Terence Wall, Cynthia Flanagan, John Ursin and Sandra Calvert Nathans