John P. Rodgers

Partner
Legal Assistant
Kishanna Hawthorne
P: 615.252.3882 khawthorne@bradley.com
Representative Experience
  • ADA
    • Won summary judgment in ADA and wrongful termination case against a city involving the plaintiff’s CBD usage and a failed drug test for marijuana. The plaintiff, a city employee, claimed that her usage of legal CBD had a permitted amount of THC that caused her to fail a drug test. Our client argued that regardless of whether the plaintiff only used legal CBD products or illegal marijuana, the result of the drug test as verified by the medical review officer was positive for marijuana as the test could not tell the difference between THC consumed via legal CBD usage and THC consumed via illegal marijuana. Our client argued that it was entitled to rely on the result of the verified drug test and that there was no evidence the city was aware of the plaintiff’s alleged disability. The federal court agreed with our client’s arguments and granted the motion for summary judgment in full, dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit in its entirety (2020 WL 5424104 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 10, 2020)).

      Won summary judgment in an ADA and workers’ comp retaliation case filed against automotive personnel supplier. Federal court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment, adopting our client’s arguments that the Defendant did not fail to accommodate the plaintiff and did not retaliate against him for requesting workers’ comp benefits (2019 WL 3288462, M.D. Tenn. July 22, 2019; 2019 WL 3294805, M.D. Tenn., May 31, 2019).

      Won summary judgment in ADA and Title VII case. Federal court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment in case brought against public employer (2019 WL 109370, M.D. Tenn., Jan. 3, 2019).

      Won summary judgment in ADA and FMLA case. Federal court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment in case against personnel supplier in automotive industry. In granting our client’s motion for summary judgment, the court held that client was entitled to rely on an FMLA certification showing the plaintiff was not legally entitled to leave, that plaintiff did not make a request for a reasonable accommodation as a matter of law, and that the plaintiff could not show that our client’s legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reason for terminating him was pre-textual (2018 WL 4494839, M.D. Tenn., Sept. 19, 2018).

      Successfully defended major Southeastern convenience store chain in 2017 against claims that store’s parking lot and restrooms were not compliant with Title III of the ADA. Represented client and worked with ADA compliance expert in addressing the store’s ADA compliance issues to prevent subsequent litigation and negotiated successful settlement with plaintiff to resolve dispute.

      Won summary judgment for hospital in ADA case involving drug testing and allegations of disability discrimination. The plaintiff claimed that she had a “false positive” drug test and her resulting termination was in violation of the ADA. The court granted client’s motion for summary judgment as the plaintiff had no evidence that our client had any knowledge of her disability, and even if plaintiff’s drug testing results were incorrect, client was entitled to rely on the results of a drug test a medical review officer certified as correct (219 F. Supp. 3d 738, W.D. Tenn., 2016).

      Won summary judgment in ADA and FMLA case against credit union client. In September 2016, the court granted client’s motion for summary judgment in an ADA and FMLA case and denied the plaintiff’s motion to set aside the judgment (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Case No. 3:15-cv-805, Sept. 28, 2016).

      Won dismissal of ADA claims based on statute of limitations and failure to state claim grounds. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee dismissed all of plaintiff’s employee’s claims in disability discrimination case based on motion to dismiss on statute of limitations and failure to state a claim grounds (2012 WL 6021435, M.D. Tenn., Dec. 4, 2012).

      Assisted in obtaining summary judgment for employer in ADA discrimination and retaliation case on the basis that each time the employee complained it attempted to accommodate her condition and that it did not know of the EEOC charge at the time of discharge (2012 WL 4484939, M.D. Tenn., Sept. 27, 2012).

  • Harassment
    • Won dismissal of harassment and defamation case based on lack of personal jurisdiction. State court dismissed case against federal contractor client based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

      Won dismissal of sexual harassment and retaliation case. State court granted our client’s motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute in case involving allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation (Williamson County Chancery Court, Aug. 31, 2018, Case No. 45609).

      Obtained summary judgment in Title VII hostile work environment/retaliation case that the Sixth Circuit affirmed on appeal. The district court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment in full in a Title VII hostile work environment case involving allegations of sexual and religious harassment and retaliation. The court ruled that our client responded reasonably to allegations that coworkers were harassing the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed to the Sixth Circuit, and on appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to our client (232 F. Supp. 3d 971, M.D. Tenn. 2017; 2017 WL 5466657, 6th Cir., Oct. 31, 2017).

      Won dismissal of sexual harassment case. The court granted our client’s motion to dismiss in April 2017 for failure to prosecute a sexual harassment case (Franklin County Circuit Court, No. 15-cv-237).

      Obtained summary judgment concerning religious discrimination and harassment claims under the Tennessee Human Rights Act based on the argument that defendant/counter-plaintiff, an insurance salesman, was an independent contractor and not an employee and thus his claims failed as a matter of law (Davidson County Circuit Court, Mar. 2014).

  • Discrimination
    • Won affirmance of United States District Court’s dismissal of Title VII lawsuit. Sixth Circuit affirmed on appeal. Successfully represented federal contractor client against former employee who claimed he was retaliated against in violation of Title VII. Persuaded the district court that the plaintiff did not engage in protected activity under Title VII because the plaintiff did not oppose any conduct prohibited by Title VII or participate in any Title VII proceeding. The district court held, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed, that to engage in “participation clause” protected activity, the activity must be pursuant to a pending EEOC charge. Since no EEOC charge was pending at the time of the plaintiff’s participation, the plaintiff did not have a Title VII claim.

      Won dismissal of a Title VII retaliation case. Federal court dismissed lawsuit against federal contractor client based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

      Won summary judgment in ADA and Title VII case. Federal court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment in case brought against public employer (2019 WL 109370, M.D. Tenn., Jan. 3, 2019).

      Grant of summary judgment affirmed in age discrimination case. Obtained affirmance of dismissal from Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in age discrimination case in July 2016. Client successfully argued to the appellate court that the plaintiff had no evidence that client’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating her was pretext for age discrimination. The fact that the same person who hired the plaintiff also fired her supported the appellate court’s decision (656 F. App'x 80, 6th Cir., July 27, 2016).

      Won summary judgment for hospital in Title VII hostile work environment case. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted client’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The plaintiff (white male) contended that he was exposed to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII for associating with two African-American coworkers and because his ex-spouse was African-American. Client successfully argued to the court that even assuming the plaintiff’s allegations of harassment were true for purposes of the motion for summary judgment, they were not severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of his employment. The court agreed with our client’s argument and dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit in its entirety (2016 WL 2942303, M.D. Tenn., May 20, 2016).

      Won summary judgment for client based on judicial estoppel argument. In an age and disability discrimination case, the court granted client’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s case in its entirety. Client asserted the affirmative defense of judicial estoppel because the plaintiff failed to disclose the existence of his potential lawsuit on his bankruptcy filings and therefore he was barred from bringing his claims. The court agreed with client’s argument and dismissed plaintiff’s lawsuit in its entirety (2016 WL 2939910, M.D. Tenn., Apr. 13, 2016).

      Won summary judgment in age discrimination case. A federal court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment in an age discrimination case brought against an interior design company. The district court agreed with client’s position that the plaintiff was not discriminated against based on her age and had no evidence that our client’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating her employment was pretext for age discrimination (2015 WL 6618635, M.D. Tenn., Oct. 30, 2015). 

      Won dismissal of claims against police officer client. Our client, a police officer and one of multiple defendants in the matter, was accused of violating the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, discriminating against plaintiff on the basis of age, gender, race, and sexual orientation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Tennessee Personal and Commercial Computer Act, among other allegations. Before the case was settled, successfully moved the Middle District of Tennessee to dismiss 19 causes of action against client (64 F. Supp. 3d 1070, M.D. Tenn., Nov. 25, 2014).

      Won dismissal of lawsuit against public employer for insufficient service of process. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee dismissed plaintiff’s lawsuit for failure for insufficient service of process (2014 WL 4347617, M.D. Tenn., Sept. 2, 2014).

      Obtained summary judgment concerning religious discrimination and harassment claims under the Tennessee Human Rights Act based on the argument that defendant/counter-plaintiff, an insurance salesman, was an independent contractor and not an employee and thus his claims failed as a matter of law (Davidson County Circuit Court, Mar. 2014).

      Grant of summary judgment affirmed for public employer in Title VII hostile work environment and discrimination case. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of municipality in race discrimination, hostile work environment, and failure-to-promote case (530 F. App'x 434, 6th Cir. 2013).

  • Labor Relations
    • Successfully defended hospitality company against unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A former employee alleged our client discharged him because he engaged in protected concerted activities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Our client argued that the charging party was a manager and therefore was not protected by the NLRA. The NLRB agreed with our position and dismissed the charging party’s charge. The charging party appealed to the NLRB’s general counsel, but the general counsel sustained our client’s position and rejected the charging party’s claim.

      Won summary judgment in an ADA and workers’ Comp retaliation case filed against automotive personnel supplier. Federal court granted our motion for summary judgment, adopting our client’s arguments that the plaintiff did not fail to accommodate the plaintiff and did not retaliate against him for requesting workers’ comp benefits (2019 WL 3288462, M.D. Tenn. July 22, 2019; 2019 WL 3294805, M.D. Tenn., May 31, 2019).

      Won summary judgment in workers’ comp retaliatory discharge case against personnel supplier in automotive industry. The Middle District of Tennessee granted client’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s retaliatory discharge lawsuit. Plaintiff claimed that our client terminated her for filing a claim for workers’ comp benefits. Our client successfully argued that the plaintiff was fired for a failure to return to work after being cleared to perform light-duty work and that the plaintiff had no evidence that her claim for workers’ comp benefits was a substantial factor in our client’s decision to terminate her (2016 WL 3280486, M.D. Tenn., June 25, 2016).

      Won summary judgment in workers’ comp retaliatory discharge case against automotive supplier client. The state trial court granted client’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. Our client terminated the plaintiff, a former production worker, after five months of employment due to her inability to get certified on all four required production positions. The plaintiff claimed that since she could not perform her regular job duties due to varying work restrictions associated with her injury, our client was not permitted to terminate her for being unable to meet the job’s requirements. The court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s lawsuit in its entirety, holding that the plaintiff’s inability to meet the job requirements due to her work-related injury and restrictions was not retaliation (Rutherford County Circuit Court, No. 67234, May 20, 2016).

      Won dismissal of Tennessee Public Protection Act case. The court granted our client’s motion to dismiss a whistleblower case filed under the Tennessee Public Protection Act (Davidson County Circuit Court, Case No. 16C1971).

      Summary judgment affirmed in USERRA case against hospital and hospital CEO. In a case of first impression under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Sixth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to our clients. The plaintiff, an orthopedic surgeon, argued that he was entitled to reemployment under USERRA upon his return from deployment, but our clients successfully proved an affirmative defense that the plaintiff was not entitled to reemployment rights because his employment was for a brief, non-recurrent period of time and plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of continued employment for a significant period. The decision regarding this affirmative defense under USERRA was the first of its kind in a federal appellate court. The Sixth Circuit also affirmed the grant of summary judgment to clients regarding the plaintiff’s USERRA discrimination claim, his wrongful discharge claim, and his breach of contract claim. Plaintiff sought to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court chose not to take the case, leaving the Sixth Circuit’s decision undisturbed.

  • FMLA
    • Won defense verdict in FMLA case. Represented client in federal court trial that resulted in a complete defense verdict for personnel supplier client to automotive industry. The plaintiff was terminated for excessive absenteeism, and plaintiff argued that her absences should have been excused under the FMLA. Our client argued that FMLA leave was properly denied and that plaintiff was not retaliated against for requesting FMLA leave. The jury found for our client on both counts (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, No. 3:15-cv-83, June 2016).

      Won summary judgment for hospital client in FMLA and workers’ comp retaliatory discharge case involving failed drug test. The plaintiff claimed she was terminated in retaliation for requesting workers’ compensation benefits and for taking FMLA leave. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee granted our client’s motion for summary judgment, holding that “no reasonable jury” could return a verdict in her favor because she could not establish a causal connection between her request for workers’ compensation benefits or her request for FMLA and her termination (2018 WL 3673169, E.D. Tenn., Aug.2, 2018).

      Won summary judgment in ADA and FMLA case against credit union client. In September 2016, the court granted client’s motion for summary judgment in an ADA and FMLA case and denied the plaintiff’s motion to set aside the judgment (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Case No. 3:15-cv-805, Sept. 28, 2016).

      Won summary judgment for hospital in FMLA interference and retaliation case. Obtained summary judgment in January 2015 from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee for a hospital in a case brought under the FMLA by a former employee of the hospital. The motion for summary judgment analyzed several specific days and explained to the court why the plaintiff was ineligible for FMLA leave on each day at issue. The motion also persuaded the court that the plaintiff could not show that client’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reason was pretext for retaliation (2018 WL 136137, M.D. Tenn., Jan. 9, 2015).

  • FLSA
    • Won summary judgment in FLSA collective action case brought by about three dozen plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The court granted client’s motion for summary judgment in full. The collective’s claims were brought on behalf of a group of paramedics and EMTs who claimed to be owed minimum wage and overtime payments under the FLSA for a three-year period. The primary issue was whether paramedics scheduled for 24-hour shifts with an eight-hour designated sleep time period should have been compensated for the full 24 hours at their regular rate, plus overtime if applicable. Successfully argued that even assuming all 24 hours constituted compensable work time, plaintiffs had already been paid the minimum wage for all hours worked. Also successfully argued that plaintiffs’ overtime claims were foreclosed under the FLSA because it was undisputed that plaintiffs were properly paid for all hours they reported as having worked. An FLSA retaliation claim by the named plaintiff was also defeated at summary judgment (2018 WL 3318961, W.D. Tenn., July 5, 2018).

  • Restrictive Covenants
    • Successfully enforced non-compete covenant against sales representative of a food service client in Shelby County (Tennessee) Chancery Court.

      Successfully defended an individual against a former employer’s attempts to obtain a preliminary injunction regarding a non-competition covenant (Davidson County Chancery Court, Case No. 14-1064-IV, Aug. 4, 2014).

      Successfully defended an individual against a former employer’s attempts to obtain a preliminary injunction regarding a non-compete (Davidson County Chancery Court, Case No. 17-1149-III, Nov. 29, 2017).