D.C. Appeals Court Reverses Reed Smith Wrongful Termination Suit

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The D.C. Court of Appeals reversed a wrongful termination suit filed by former Reed Smith associate Danielle Cesarano in 2003 according to The Legal Times Blog. Cesarano complained that the firm didn’t sufficiently accommodate a disability she developed when she burned and injured her hand at a Reed Smith trial training program. Cesarano alleged that it was difficult for her to get assignments and meet expectations for billable hours. She was told to bill 200 hours a month by her supervisor if she wanted to stay at the firm. In an affidavit the managing partner of the firm, Douglas Spaulding, stated that Cesarano’s annual chargeable hours were low and that she had received mixed performance reviews. Cesarano lost her position in October 2002.

Cesarano wanted compensatory and punitive damages plus back pay. Reed Smith countered that Cesarano wasn’t disabled during her employment and the statute of limitations barred her allegations. Judge Michael Rankin ruled in the firm’s favor in 2007.

D.C. Court of Appeals Judges Inez Smith Reid and John Fisher, sitting with Senior Judge Warren King, heard oral arguments in February 2009. In their opinion, the court claimed no position on the merits of Cesarano’s case but reversed the dismissed case and remanded it for trial in Superior Court.


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