Dinsmore & Shohl partner Michael W. Hawkins was tapped to argue a worker retaliation case before the U.S. Supreme Court, a dispute that could have far-reaching implications for companies and workers.

CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries revolves around the question of whether an employee can bring a retaliation claim against an employer because he was allegedly retaliated against for filing a complaint of racial discrimination.

In the Supreme Court case, the company says Hedrick G. Humphries, who worked at a Cracker Barrel restaurant (owned by CBOCS West Inc.), was fired for violation of company policy after he left a safe unlocked overnight. Humphries, who is black, argued that he was terminated because he had complained about the firing of another black employee there.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Equal Employment Advisory Council filed briefs in support of CBOCS, which is Cracker Barrel’s parent company.

“This is an important case for employers because a ruling in favor of CBOCS will strengthen the statutes of limitations and damages caps under Title VII for retaliation claims,” Hawkins says. “Like all retaliation cases, it also highlights important lessons to be learned by employers when dealing with employees who have made internal or external complaints of discrimination in the workplace.”

Hawkins notes that accurate documentation of events leading to employment termination could become very important for employers to demonstrate that retaliation was not the reason for termination.

Hawkins’ practice areas include class-action litigation, employment, international trade and transactions, labor and mass tort. The University of Kentucky College of Law graduate previously argued and won Kentucky River Community Care vs. NLRB before the United States Supreme Court in 2002 on behalf of the employer.

Taft, Stettinius & Hollister partner Julia Meister was appointed to the Ohio Jury Instructions/Ohio State Bar Association Jury Instructions committee on wills. Meister, head of Taft’s Estates, Trusts & Fiduciary Litigation practice, will help edit future editions of Ohio Jury Instructions. Meister also serves as chair-elect of the admissions committee for the Cincinnati Bar Association and is a member of Taft’s Employment and Ethics Committees.

Daniel J. Buckley, a Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease partner in the litigation group, was been named to The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati Board of Trustees. Legal Aid is charged with resolving serious legal problems of low-income people, promoting economic and family stability, and reducing poverty through effective legal assistance. Buckley practices in the areas of business litigation, complex litigation and class actions, and medical malpractice defense.

Thompson Hine attorney Claire Huaying Ye was elected first vice chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce, an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization committed to helping Chinese-American businesses and promoting U.S.-China trade and cooperation in an effort to boost local economic development.

Keating, Muething and Klekamp surveyed a representative cross-section of 300 clients and found that 98 percent were “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the firm’s work. Nine out of 10 clients say they would definitely recommend the firm to others. Keating recently expanded its offices at Fourth and Vine downtown by two floors, and extended its lease there through 2014.

Robert W. Olson, former senior vice president and general counsel of Chiquita Brands International, joined Dinsmore & Shohl’s corporate department. Olson retired in 2006 from Chiquita, where he was responsible for all global legal matters. He also is a former senior vice president and general counsel of The Penn Central Corp.

Dinsmore added two other attorneys. Alex M. Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and former Common Pleas Court judge, will practice in the litigation department.
Jennifer L. Livingston joined as an associate in the litigation and intellectual property law departments, moving from The Wolfe Practice.

Ulmer & Berne added three attorneys:
Linda S. Glassman and Camille D. Kuri joined the product liability group and asbestos subgroup, and Brad A. Sobolewski joined the business litigation group.

Local law news may be e-mailed to law@cincymagazine.com.