Attorneys Gregory Noble and Robert A. Ballard III Win $500,000 for Former Public Defender in Gender Bias Lawsuit

O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble are proud to announce that a jury in Union County Superior Court awarded our client $450,000 in economic damages and $50,000 for distress in a gender discrimination suit.

Joy Spriggs, a former public defender in the city of Plainfield, was represented by attorneys Gregory Noble and Robert A. Ballard III.

In 2001, the City of Plainfield hired Spriggs as a public defender, where she served for 15 years. However, the city’s attorney notified Spriggs in 2016 that they would not be renewing her contract. Afterward, the city appointed a male attorney to her former position.

When the city let go of Spriggs, she was the only female employee in the public defender’s office. The city also retaliated against Spriggs after legitimate requests for time off under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and disability benefits. 

In 2013, Spriggs’ husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When she attempted to take time off to take care of her husband, the city expressed ill will towards her.

After Spriggs’ husband died, she tried to apply for disability since she suffered severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after an armed home invasion in 2012. The city told her that her enrollment period for benefits ended even though she was still employed.

In this lawsuit, our attorneys pursued five counts, including wage loss, violation of the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. We are happy that the Union County Superior Court jury rightfully awarded our client.

Attorney Gregory Noble says that it was “extremely gratifying for Ms. Spriggs that the jury agreed with our theory of the case that she was denied this important position she had since 2001 because of intentional gender discrimination." 

Sources: New Jersey Law Journal, My Central Jersey

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