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Jones Walker Obtains Federal Court Injunction Halting Duplicative State Court Age Discrimination Lawsuit
February 9, 2005

On January 28, 2005, Jones Walker obtained a decision from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals instructing a federal trial court to enjoin a state court age discrimination lawsuit brought against the University of Louisiana at Monroe and the University system by two former administrators. Jones Walker sought this extraordinary relief to protect the earlier judgment it obtained dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the same administrators and over 300 other University System faculty members. The EEOC’s lawsuit challenged a policy adopted in 1996 that prohibited the re-employment of state retirees except under certain limited conditions and a Louisiana law that limited the earnings of re-employed state retirees who elected to continue receiving their retirement benefits during their re-employment. After the federal trial court ruled in 1991 that neither the policy nor the earnings limitation violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the two lead charging parties in the EEOC's lawsuit attempted to relitigate the same age discrimination allegations under state law. Federal courts use their limited authority to enjoin state court proceedings very sparingly, but the Fifth Circuit concluded that the attempt to relitigate the same issues all over again in state court had to be stopped. The Fifth Circuit agreed with Jones Walker that University successfully defended itself against the same age discrimination allegations in federal court, and the injunction was necessary to protect the integrity of the federal court judgment. Jones Walker attorneys Mark Adams, Pauline Hardin, Ginger Gundlach, and Jennifer Anderson made up the successful litigation team.