A federal judge shot down on procedural grounds yesterday a former Crowell & Moring employee's effort to drop the age discrimination suit she had filed against the firm.
In July, Mona Saunders, 54, brought a $300,000 lawsuit alleging that she was fired after 18 years with Crowell because of her age. On Feb. 25, Saunders' lawyer filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the suit.
But Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia answered back that Ardra O’Neal of The O'Neal Firm no longer has the power to drop the suit on behalf of her client.
Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a paperless order that “a plaintiff may dismiss an action by filing a voluntary notice of dismissal only if the opposing party has not served either an answer or a motion for summary judgment.” Crowell filed its answer to the allegations in August. In its answer, Crowell said Saunders was fired for failing to "perform her job in a satisfactory manner" and not because of her age.
The suit was originally filed in D.C. Superior Court, but it was moved to federal court in August. Saunders’ complaint claims that her supervisor at the firm routinely criticized her work and made her feel as though she was unable to learn new tasks because of her age. She was let go in July 2008.
Crowell declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing litigation. The firm’s lawyer, Michael Stevens of Arent Fox, did not immediately return calls for comment.
O’Neal did not return calls for comment.