Oral argument: Nov. 2, 2010
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Mar. 25, 2009)
DISCRIMINATION, EMPLOYER LIABILITY, CAT’S PAW THEORY, USERRA
In 2008, Vincent Staub received a favorable jury verdict in an employment discrimination trial against his former employer, Proctor Hospital. Proctor Hospital appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which reversed the verdict based on the "cat's paw" theory of employer liability. The court held that unless the ultimate decision maker was under the "singular influence" of another employee, only the decision maker's unlawful reasons for adverse employment decisions are actionable. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the motivations of other employees who influence employment actions, but do not make the ultimate decision, may be taken into consideration in employment discrimination suits.