Foley Hoag Wins Judgment for Firm Accused of Discrimination by Former Employee

December 5, 2013

Foley Hoag partner Michael Keating led a team that won a defendants’ verdict from a Boston jury, which found that law firm Ropes & Gray LLP did not retaliate against former associate John Ray III for claiming he was a victim of racial discrimination.

Ray claimed that Ropes & Gray sought to punish him for the accusations by withholding letters of recommendation and releasing an EEOC decision unfavorable to him to a news website. In August 2013, the court dismissed Ray's claim that the firm discriminated against him on account of his race when he was denied partnership.

The jury agreed with Ropes & Gray’s contention, as advanced by Keating, that Ray had not filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in good faith. It also found that Ray did not act in good faith when he wrote to Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow accusing Ropes & Gray of retaliation for his claim that he was not offered a partnership because of his race. The jury also agreed with Ropes & Gray’s contention, as advanced by Keating, that Ray had attempted to use his claims of discrimination and retaliation to extract a large settlement from the firm.

After only two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury found no merit in Ray’s claims. In a statement released after the jury reached its verdict, Ropes & Gray said the firm is “gratified at the decisions in this case, which affirm our steadfast commitment to fairness and equality. Our workplace and our ability to serve our clients are immeasurably strengthened by the differing backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of our employees.”

In addition to Keating, the Foley Hoag team included partner Martin Murphy and associates Christopher Escobedo Hart and Daniel McFadden.

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