The Inbox

| Marcus, Ellen

"Trombone Player"

This week's latest in Suits by Suits:

  • A trombonist and former leader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra is in the mood for some litigation.  Gary Tole, who is white, has sued the orchestra’s production company claiming that he was fired in retaliation for him promoting and hiring African Americans and Hispanics.  Among other things, Tole alleges that the president of the company questioned his hiring of two African American musicians, saying at the time to Tole that “[T]his is the Glenn Miller Orchestra, not the Count Basie Orchestra,” or words to that effect.
  • There has been a new twist in the wrongful termination case brought by Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan in state court in Los Angeles.  As we reported earlier, Sheridan claims that her employers at ABC and Touchstone Television wrote her off the show and killed her character by electrocution because she complained about being assaulted on the set by the show’s creator Marc Cherry.  The case went to trial and ended in a mistrial.  Since then, a California appellate court has held that Sheridan does not have a valid wrongful termination claim because she was never terminated, rather, her contract expired and was not renewed.    But, unlike Sheridan’s character, the case is not dead.  The court went on to say that Sheridan should be permitted to amend her complaint with a claim that her employers retaliated against her, in violation of California labor law, for complaining about unsafe working conditions (Cherry’s conduct), when they decided not to renew her contract.
  • We reported earlier on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is in the unique position of reimbursing legal fees for one of its members as he sues to challenge his own removal from the board, as an example of the breadth of indemnification clauses in employee agreements or company bylaws.  Now, the MWAA, “under pressure to clean up its affairs,” is firing a former board member , who left the board for health reasons, but was then promptly rehired— with a $180,000 salary—as an assistant to the CEO.