MIAMI – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently denied motions from both parties in a lawsuit in which an attorney claimed the law firm she worked for violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
In a Nov. 27 filing, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke denied a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Kathleen O. King against her former employer, McIntosh Sawran & Cartaya P.A. in her suit that alleged the company denied her wages while she was on family leave. The judge also denied McIntosh Sawran's motion for summary judgment.
According to the filing, King claimed the law firm violated the FMLA when it required her to continue working even after she filed for leave in December 2017 in order to take care of her ailing father. King also claimed the company fired her while she was on family leave.
McIntosh Sawran contended the lawsuit was simply filed in retaliation of being fired.
According to King, two days into her FMLA leave, her supervising partner sent her an email demanding that she draft “exit Memos” on each of the cases she was assigned to, cases that attorneys for McIntosh Sawran claim comprised the bulk of King's portfolio.
Court filings said King failed to respond for three days, saying she needed to be in Virginia for her father’s surgery.
King alleged she contacted the company office and “dictated a chart to her assistant to enable her assistant to draft the exit memos that (the partner had) repeatedly demanded," court filings said.
King alleged the law firm had a work culture "in which attorneys were expected to be available 24/7 no matter the circumstance,” even if they were “out of the state caring for seriously ill family members,” court filings said.
McIntosh Sawran said they provided King all the leave she requested.
McIntosh Sawran also claimed McIntosh was fired because the company lost one of its biggest clients, not because she took leave. The firm claimed that the loss of the client "necessitated cuts in the firm’s payroll and, at the same time, eliminated much of King's workload."