Southworth PC federal employment attorneys Shaun Southworth and Ianna Richardson have obtained default judgment for client after the Agency failed to develop a full and impartial record on their client’s case. The Report of Investigation was missing key information and the Agency failed to properly respond to show a cause order. Because of the Agency’s actions, the Commission determined that the proper sanction was a default judgment.
The Commission wrote:
“On October 30, 2020, Complainant filed a motion for default judgment, arguing that the circumstances of this case were more egregious than other cases where default judgment was imposed, noting the Agency’s noncompliance with the regulation and order to produce the complaint file, the Agency did not submit a declaration as required by the show-cause order, and addressing the Agency’s production regarding various deficient items. On November 5, 2020, the Agency emailed its response to Complainant’s motion but failed to upload it to the electronic docket as required by the Initial Processing Order. Additionally, the Agency’s response again failed to comply with the requirements for filings as ordered in the Initial Processing Order as it was not searchable nor bookmarked. Therefore, I find grounds not to consider the Agency’s noncompliant filing and I exercise my discretion initially not to consider it and find that the Agency has failed to justify its noncompliance. … In sum, I find that the Agency failed to comply with 29 C.F.R. § 1614.108(b). In review of the factors above and considering the dual purpose of deterring future non-compliance and equitably remedying Complainant, I find that the Agency’s non-compliance warrants meaningful and considerable sanctions. After carefully considering the circumstances of this case, I have decided to impose the following sanctions, which will effectively emphasize to the Agency the need to comply with the Commission’s regulations regarding investigations: 1. Issue default judgment in favor of Complainant. This sanction is narrowly tailored to the various deficiencies in the investigative record which effect nearly every element of Complainant’s claims.”
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