Delaware Judge Upholds Dismissal Call in Softball Injury Lawsuit

July 27, 2020

A Delaware judge has refused to overturn her decision to toss a lawsuit by a paralegal who said he was targeted for retaliation after being injured while playing on his law firm’s softball team and filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden denied William Weller’s motion for reargument in his lawsuit against Morris James LLP.

Jurden ruled in May that alleged acts of misconduct by the law firm did not constitute adverse employment actions against Weller, and that some claims involving conduct in 2015 were barred by the passage of time.

That decision was the latest in a long-running legal battle between Weller and the Wilmington-based law firm.

A different judge ruled in 2018 that Delaware’s Industrial Accident Board erred in concluding that Weller ruptured his Achilles tendon in 2015 during the course and scope of his work for Morris James.

Weller argued that Morris James employees were pressured into playing on the firm’s softball team, but the 2018 court ruling said participation was voluntary, and that there was no evidence that playing softball was a job requirement. The court also said the IAB erred in concluding that Morris James received a substantial, direct benefit from its softball team in the way of increased productivity.

The firm said softball games were intended to boost employee health, morale and camaraderie.

After Delaware’s Supreme Court upheld the ruling that Weller was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, he filed another lawsuit last year claiming that he was subjected to ridicule and retaliation by partners in the law firm after he took medical leave.

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