Vera v. McHugh, 08-1886 - U.S. First Circuit
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Vera v. McHugh, 08-1886

Ruling for Defendants in Title VII Suit Partially Vacated

Vera v. McHugh, 08-1886, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment in favor of the defendants, in plaintiff's Title VII suit claiming that she was sexually harassed by a co-worker and subsequently by a supervisor at a Fort Buchanan Army garrison in Puerto Rico, and then fired in retaliation for filing her sexual harassment complaints.

 

In vacating and remanding district court's grant of summary judgment for the defendant on the sexual harassment claim against the supervisor, the court held that it cannot be ruled as a matter of law that the circumstances of plaintiff's employment did not constitute a hostile work environment.  The court held that the district court was well within its discretion in finding that plaintiff was not entitled to the benefit of equitable estoppel in her harassment claim against her co-worker.  The court further held that it would be impossible for a rational jury to conclude that the supervisor's actions from October 2004 through mid-May 2005, which were taken in ignorance of plaintiff's sexual harassment complaint against the co-worker, were motivated by his desire to retaliate against her for those complaints.  Lastly, the court held that it would not be reasonable for a jury to conclude that the supervisor's actions were motivated by plaintiff's sexual harassment  complaint against him.

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