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You Can Lose Your Case if You Don’t Follow the Rules

When a plaintiff files a lawsuit, the plaintiff often focuses on the facts of the case and the law that pertains to those facts. The plaintiff should prevail when the law supports the plaintiff’s allegations, and the plaintiff should lose when the law supports the defendant’s allegations.

But there is another way that a plaintiff can lose. Consider the case of Harold Johnson versus the Borough of Frenchtown and the Frenchtown Police Department.

Harold Johnson was a probationary police officer in Frenchtown. On August 1, 2012, the Borough Council voted unanimously to terminate his employment. While the council offered no reason for the termination other than unfit for duty, the local press reported an incident that may have been the basis of the council’s decision.

Johnson filed a lawsuit in Superior Court three weeks after being terminated, alleging that on a daily basis he was:

  • Harassed
  • Verbally abused
  • Disrespected
  • Threatened with termination

As an example of racially discriminatory treatment, Johnson alleged that he, an African-American, was threatened with charges for filling out his log incorrectly, while a white officer was only given a reprimand when he neglected to respond to a hit-and-run.

Discovery is the legal requirement for the parties to exchange documents and other information relevant to the claims that each party makes. The judge routinely imposes a discovery schedule that is expected to be complied with. The judge can sanction a party for failing to provide discovery. On July 12, 2013, that is what happened to Johnson. The judge granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit because Johnson failed to provide discovery.

Having competent legal counsel represent you ensures that you won’t lose your case due to failure to comply with legal procedures.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

Carly Skarbnik Meredith Attorney Photo
Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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