The Third Circuit issued three published opinions yesterday, all three reversing at least in part.
Aliments Krispy Kernals v. Nichols Farms — civil / arbitiration — reversal — Fuentes
The Third Circuit remanded for a district court to resolve a factual issue about whether the parties to a contract agreed to arbitration. The district court had denied the motion to enforce arbitration, but the Third Circuit ruled that at least two material factual disputes must be resolved first.
Joining Fuentes were Ambro and Shwartz. The case was decided without argument.
Egan v. Delaware River Port Authority — civil / employment discrimination — partial reversal — Shwartz
The Third Circuit vacated a defense verdict in a suit brought under Family and Medical Leave Act, holding that the district court erred in requiring the plaintiff to support his FMLA claim with direct (as opposed to circumstantial) evidence. The court affirmed the defense verdict on the plaintiff’s claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Significantly, Judge Jordan concurred in the judgment, noting his “discomfort” with Chevron deference and urging that the doctrine “deserves another look.” (He expressed similar views in during a public program in January.)
Joining Shwartz was Smith, with Jordan concurring in the judgment. Arguing counsel were Michael Salmanson of Salmanson Goldshaw for the plaintiff, Rachel Goldberg for the government as amicus supporting the plaintiff, and Zachary Davis of Stevens & Lee for the defendant.
Carvalho-Grevious v. Delaware State Univ. — civil / employment discrimination — partial reversal — Fisher
A professor sued a university and administrators under Title VII, alleging retaliation for complaining about discrimination. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants, but the Third Circuit reversed in part, reviving claims against the university and an administrator. The court endorsed the Fourth Circuit’s view that retaliation plaintiffs need only show at the prima facie stage that retaliation was the likely reason for the employer’s adverse action, criticizing the Sixth and Tenth Circuit’s view that such plaintiffs must prove but-for causation.