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Thread: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

  1. #16
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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    A few points...

    While EPL insurance could be a factor, if the deductable is sufficiently large, the employer (the Rams) may wish, and be in a position, to insist that defense counsel fight the claim rather than settle is in the initial stages of the process. Also, having litigated these types of cases for 20 years, I can tell you that the conventional wisdom that the insurer will simply pay off the claim is not always accurate in this arena.

    The other point worth making is that Spagnuolo is probably the Rams' best defense. If they simply assert that Spags wished to "clean house" and "bring in his own people," Hewitt cannot challenge that by asserting that it is unfair, unkind, or disloyal. All he could do is try to show that "cleaning house" is code for "getting rid of the old guys." He can try to do that through statistical evidence (i.e. showing that employees over 40 were impacted by the "clean house" policy, while younger employees were not) or, again, through the alleged direct evidence.

    One credibility problem that Hewitt may have, however, could result from his willingness to talk to the press immediately after he was fired. Though I'd have to look to be sure, in the many interviews he gave at the time, I don't recall him ever claiming that Spags made comments about his age when he was fired. The fact that he is now claiming that those comments were made (and, particularly since the alleged comments are generic "you're too old" statements), a jury could find that he (on the advice of his lawyer) is not being truthful about these comments, but is merely trying to bolster his claim.


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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    Quote Originally Posted by FestusRam View Post
    Maybe I am being insensitive but this is the same guy who said he wishes the Rams would lose all 16 games and who has made a very nice life im sure managing equipment for a pro team. A job that was apparently handed to him. The thing is the man responsible for his firing isnt even here anymore

    I really did feel bad for him when i first heard the story but when i watched an interview where he said he wished theyd lose every game it sounded really immature and annoyed me. I understand e may have lost his job unexpectedly but such is life in NFL with regims changes.
    This ... he has this great job handed to him because of his father's relationship with the Rams and then settles into over 40 years of employment as their equipment manager.

    The way I sees it he settles in to complacency and for whatever reason he and Spagnuolo rub each other the wrong way. Regardless of seniority, little fish loses.

    I'm sorry, but these are tumultuous times. Personal experience tells me that if survival is desired your new boss is always you next best friend, no matter how many they may be or how much you hate them.

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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    I too have dealt with this type of stuff for over 20 years. The size of the deductible is certainly relevant, as is the amount of Hewitt's claim. I dont remember whether hewitt made any age related public statements at the time he was fired. I do know that the number of people over 40 that were fired and replaced by younger people (ie the sheer number) is a bad fact for the rams. The rams are not a particularly big organization in terms of number of employees. That number of terminated people over 40 is going to raise scrutiny and in my view, absent other very strong facts in favor of the rams, make it tough to win this case on summary judgment. Juries are tricky things and dangerous for insurance companies. Is Hewitt a sympathetic guy? Do people feel good about the rams? How objective is the jury (presumably a jury of non football fans). These are all difficult to predict.

    As a general counsel, i can tell you one certainty. The only certainty in litigation is very expensive legal fees.

    Ramming speed to all

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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    I do know that the number of people over 40 that were fired and replaced by younger people (ie the sheer number) is a bad fact for the rams.
    The article states that Hewitt is alleging that 7 people over 40 were fired. Assuming that is true, it tells us very little. For example, were these positions refilled, or were the jobs eliminated? Also, how many people under 40 were fired? How many people over 40 were fired but replaced by older people? All we have is a vague picture of one side of a coin at this point.

    The rams are not a particularly big organization in terms of number of employees. That number of terminated people over 40 is going to raise scrutiny and in my view, absent other very strong facts in favor of the rams, make it tough to win this case on summary judgment.
    Actually, that is not entirely correct. The focus at summary judgment will not be on the potential claims of others (sometimes referred to as "me too" evidence). Rather, the primary focus will be on whether Hewitt has direct evidence of discrimination (as summary judgment is almost never granted in a direct evidence case). That will depend on the context of the alleged remarks. If they were made in the context of the termination, and Spags was the actual decision maker, then a jury could find that the comments are direct evidence of discrimination.

    If not, and the remarks are deemed to be "stray remarks," rather than direct evidence, then summary judgment will be decided on the basis of whether Hewitt can show that the Rams' articulated reasons for his discharge are false (a pretext). If he can't, summary judgment would likely be granted. The "me too" evidence of other older workers won't save him under those circumstances.

    This thread is becoming too much like my job, so I'm not going to spend too much more time arguing finer legal points. I will note, however, for those who might be curious as to the basis of my knowledge, that I have done nothing but practice labor and employment law (on behalf of both employers and employees) for 20 years, and am Board Certified in the field.

    All that said, I'd rather talk to you all about how good the Rams' pass rush will be in 2012.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -06-01-2012 at 12:20 PM.
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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    The article says that head trainer Jim Anderson was also fired, maybe that explains why there were so many injuries during the Spagnuolo era....

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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    I hope you dont think i was challenging your expertise av because i wasnt. I thought i had read somewhere that the allegation was that the positions were not eliminated but that the people terminated were replaced by younger workers. It was in that context that i made my comment.

    I second the thought that this is a little too work related. I am sure i havent done as many of these as you since my practice is more mergers and acquisitions focused, but i have settled, litigated or otherwise negotiated a couple of hundred or so of these things on the business side while employing outside counsel to do the court appearances and filings.

    ramming speed to all

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    Re: Todd Hewitt Suing the Rams .. (Blog)

    As a person with very little legal expertise, I just have a hard time seeing that there was age discrimination when Spags himself was in his 50's and he cut a bunch of younger players in order to sign guys on the wrong side of 30.
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