What Makes A Giant Into. . . “A Bully”? Merck’s Jury Win — Then It Seeks Its Costs, From Mom, With Kids

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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2 Responses

  1. One way to improve the economy is to reduce legal costs, if losing plaintiff always had to pay when they lose, there would be fewer lawsuits. To be fair such costs should be born by the lawyer and plaintiff.

    • I hear you, my friend — and I might reply that the mom already likely paid her lawyer some $350,000 over seven years — to bring this case.

      In my opinion, lawyers don’t take cases they don’t get paid for. This was no contingency case — and even if it was, the mom probably also paid $60,000 in costs, already.

      I too want to discourage baseless lawsuits — but I want moms to feel protected, at law.

      Namaste — do stop back!

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