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Yet Another Summary Judgment Reversal in the Eleventh Circuit

There is something interesting going on in the 11th Circuit lately. Summary judgments in employment cases are being reversed. Kragor v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. is the latest in a slew of reversals this year.

In this case, the corporate executive who terminated the plaintiff for alleged misconduct later said that the plaintiff was an exceptional employee who had done nothing wrong, had done everything right, and should not have been fired. We hold—not surprisingly we think—that such evidence, when combined with a prima facie case, lets the plaintiff get to a jury on her age discrimination claim, and accordingly reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer.

Basically, the Court reiterated that a later contradiction of the employer’s legitimate business reason for termination is enough to support a finding of discrimination.  While this has been the law for some time, this recognition of it is important. What is most surprising is that the Court says this isn’t surprising. After years of employer-friendly summary judgment orders, have we begun a new era where employees actually get to try their cases in front of a jury?

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