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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.

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Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About 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…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey's premiere practitioners of employment and civil litigation. Mr. Atkins has also been included in the Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers* in Employment Litigation since 2005. Mr. Atkins believes employees have rights that should be aggressively pursued when an employer has wrongfully dealt…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations 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 some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

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Robert J. Pantina
Attorney

About Robert J. Pantina joined the firm in 2018. Mr. Pantina received his B.A. from Rider University in 2008. He received his J.D. from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2017. While in law school, Mr. Pantina interned for the Hon. Bonnie J. Mizdol, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of…

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Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

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