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Recent Successes Obtained on Behalf of Our Clients

Note: It is important to remember that while some cases may appear similar to others, all cases are unique; success in one case does not guarantee success in another. We do not guarantee a certain outcome; to do so violates the Rules of Professional Responsibility. In addition, the results of a case are determined by a variety of factors, including facts and evidence presented, whether the client follows counsel recommendations, and the stage in the proceedings at which our services are retained. Case results are only posted with the informed consent of the client.

FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT

 

Complainant v. FERC, September 2018 – Ms. White negotiated a six-figure settlement on behalf of a client alleging a hostile work environment and reprisal.

Complainant v. Federal Fire Department, September 2018– Ms. Cottrell obtained a five-figure settlement against the Department of the Navy’s Federal Fire Department where she represented a female employee who faced sexual harassment and retaliation after she reported the harassment.

Complainant v. Agency, August 2018 – Ms. White settled a non-promotion complaint brought by an employee alleging gender and age discrimination, including the promotion and payments into the retirement system so the client received credit for the years she was denied the promotion due

to discrimination.

Appellant v. U.S. Health and Human Services — The Agency removed the client from Federal service based on allegations of misrepresentation and conduct unbecoming a law enforcement officer. In June 2018, Mr. Pitts-Wiley negotiated a clean-record retirement. The Agency agreed to pay 5-months of back pay, six-figures in damages, and all attorneys’ fees and costs, just shy of six-figures.

Appellant v. NIH – In April 2018, Mr. Pitts-Wiley represented a law enforcement officer under investigation for misconduct. The client was exonerated in July 2018.

Complainant v. Dep’t of the Air Force, March 2018—Ms. Cottrell obtained a complicated settlement against the Department of the Air Force where she represented a female employee who faced sex discrimination and retaliation.

Phoebe O. v.  National Reconnaissance Office, EEOC Appeal No. 0120161129 (Mar. 30, 2018) – The Office of Federal Operations vacated the National Reconnaissance Office’s procedurally deficient Final Agency Decision, which was issued after Ms. McKinin’s client had already timely submitted a valid hearing request. OFO ordered that Ms. McKinin’s client’s EEOC hearing request be remanded to the Hearings Unit for processing.

Complainant v. AAFES, February 2018 – Ms. White won findings of race discrimination and reprisal in an EEO complaint brought by an employee regarding unfairly low ratings he received two years in a row.  The agency did not appeal.

Complainant v. Defense Media Activity, July 2017—Ms. Cottrell obtained a liability finding after a default judgment against the Defense Media Activity for retaliation, age, gender, and disability discrimination on behalf of a client who was denied an accommodation of a flexible schedule and telework and suspended. Mrs. Cottrell was able to obtain a sizable settlement that included relief beyond that awarded in the liability finding.

Complainant v. Dep’t of Homeland Security, Appeal No. 0720150002 (2017): Ms. Friedman represented a complaint which involved allegations of sex and retaliation discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment that eventually led to the Complainant no longer being able to work due to impact of the work environment on her health. The Administrative Judge issued sanctions against the agency through a default judgment in EEOC No. 410-2012-00197X for the agency’s obstruction of the discovery process, and its failure to timely complete an expedited investigation of an amendment to the complaint. Upon the agency’s appeal of the damages award, the Office of Federal Operations sustained the hearing judge’s decision to award Complainant six-figures in non-pecuniary compensatory damages, six-figures in pecuniary compensatory damages and six-figures in attorney fees. This award of compensatory damages is one of the biggest awards ever by an EEOC administrative judge.

Complainant v. Central Intelligence Agency, Appeal No. 0120130510:Ms. Friedman represented a complaint involved in allegations of sexual harassment creating a hostile work environment and reprisal discrimination resulting in the termination of the Complainant. The Office of Federal Operations reversed the Administrative Judge’s decision granting summary judgment finding that the allegations of harassment did rise to level of actionable harassment and there were material facts in dispute about whether certain responsible management officials knew of Complainant’s protected EEO activity and its connection to his termination.

Complainant v. Department of the Air Force – On September 7, 2017, an EEOC Administrative Judge found the Agency was liable for discriminating against the employee on the basis of race and in reprisal for prior EEO activity for failing to renew her term appointment and subjecting her to a hostile work environment harassment. Subsequently, in August 2018, Mr. Pitts-Wiley negotiated a settlement in which the Agency agreed to retroactively reinstate her effective October 1, 2011, to a supervisory term appointment with back pay and benefits plus interest, including all within-grade step increases. The Agency will provide her with training. The term appointment is extended to no earlier than February 2022. Term appointments are often renewed on an annual basis, but the client is guaranteed an appointment for the next 3.5 years. Additionally, the Agency agreed to a six-figure lump sum payment.

Complainant v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC No. 520-2012-00400X: Ms. Friedman represented a complaint which involved allegations of race, sex, disability and reprisal discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment. The Administrative Judge issued sanctions against the agency to include an adverse inference on all of Complainant’s discovery requests, and ultimately a default judgment against the agency for its failure to provide timely and sufficient discovery responses. The Order awarding damages included: implementation of reasonable accommodations; reassignment; cleaning of personnel files; amended performance evaluations; restoration of leave hours; payment of six-figures in non-pecuniary compensatory damages; payment in pecuniary compensatory damages; and reimbursement of five-figures in attorney fees.

Miskill v. U.S. Social Security Administration, United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2016-1598, (Decided July 20, 2017) Judith Miskill, who was represented by Ms. D’Agostino and Tom Gagliardo, AFGE Local 1923, prevailed in a challenge at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to an Arbitrator’s award sustaining her removal by the Social Security Administration for violations of the Agency’s time and attendance policy. Because the Arbitrator’s decision is not in accordance with law, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the matter in a precedential decision clarifying the use of comparator information in a federal agency penalty analysis.

Appellant v. Central Intelligence Agency, EEOC Appeal No. 0120162226 (March 7, 2017) After the CIA dismissed the Appellant’s sexual harassment complaint for alleged untimeliness, Ms. D’Agostino successfully appealed the decision to the EEOC, which overturned the CIA’s decision to dismiss the complaint and ordered the CIA to investigate the claims.

Complainant v. Central Intelligence Agency, EEOC No. 570-2013-00431X (February 16, 2017) Ms. D’Agostino successfully represented a senior CIA employee who faced retaliation after reporting disability discrimination and harassment following treatment for cancer, in an administrative hearing before the EEOC. An Administrative Judge found the CIA liable for discrimination and awarded appropriate relief.

Plaintiffs v. Department of Education, January 2017 – Ms. White obtained a seven-figure settlement in a ten-year federal lawsuit in which she represented a group of former employees of the Department of Education in a complaint alleging disability and age discrimination, stemming from a 2005 Reduction in Force (“RIF”).

Agnus L. v. U.S. Department of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120161698 (Sept. 20, 2016) – Ms. McKinin achieved a favorable result for her client on appeal of Department of the Army’s Final Agency Decision dismissing her client’s pro se formal EEO complaint during the formal investigative stage of the EEO process. The Office of Federal Operations agreed with Ms. McKinin that each of the bases of dismissal proffered by the Department of Army were erroneous, and accordingly, rescinded the determination and remanded Ms. McKinin’s client’s EEO complaint for the proper adjudication.

 

 

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING

 

Asia Commerce Network, ASBCA No. 58623 (October 4, 2017) Ms. Brier successfully represented a government contractor who the Government had unjustifiably terminated for default from a commercial item supply contract for the delivery of fuel to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. On appeal, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals found the Government had not met its burden to demonstrate a prima facie case of the contractor’s default. The termination was converted from a termination for default to a termination for convenience.

Zuhmat Group Construction, ASBCA No. 59824 (May 17, 2016) Ms. Brier successfully represented a government contractor on appeal before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. On appeal, Ms. Brier claimed that the contractor was entitled to compensation for delivery fees and invoices left outstanding on its delivered orders. After a summary proceeding before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, the Administrative Judge issued a binding decision sustaining the contractor’s appeal of all four orders and granting the contractor full payment on its invoices, plus interest.

Petition for Remission or Mitigation of Seizure (September 25, 2017) Ms. Brier successfully represented a client in a request for remission or mitigation of funds seized as a result of an asset forfeiture matter from 2010. Ms. Brier was able to demonstrate to the U.S. Postal Inspector Service that the funds seized seven years earlier were, in fact, traceable to a legitimate source and were remitted back to the client.

Protest of RANA Technologies Enterprises, B-416237 (April 18, 2018) Ms. Brier successfully represented an unsuccessful offeror in a bid protest of a subcontract award before the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Within days of filing the protest, the Government issued a notice of corrective action, which inter alia, identified irregularities in the award, acknowledged that errors were made in the assignment, and ultimately resulted in the termination of the subcontract award.

Successful Appeal of Base Debarment, (July 2017) Ms. Brier successfully represented a contractor on the appeal of a base debarment from certain DoD installations overseas. After review of the surrounding facts and circumstances examined in Ms. Brier’s written appeal, the Department of the Army approved the appeal and reinstated the contractor’s access to all previously barred installations. The contractor has since returned to working overseas on behalf of the United States military.

 

MILITARY

 

U.S. v. Juvenile 15 year old charged as an adult with felony malicious wounding as a result of him stabbing the alleged victim in the heart. First trial ended in a mistrial due to juror misconduct and the second trial ended in a full aquittal., 2017

U.S. v. Jacob L. Pease Mr. Montalvo successfully appealed the case to NMCCA and when the government appealed he successfully briefed and argued the matter before CAAF – the military’s supreme court. The result was a landmark decision in the arena of sexual assault in the military. The issue of consent in sexual assault cases when intoxication is involved has been at the heart of countless military cases over the years. In U.S. v. Pease, the court ruling resulted in the definition of the term “incapable of consenting.” The decision overturned the conviction of Mr. Montalvo’s client and set a precedent for all cases of this nature moving forward.

United States v. Zambrano,  No. 201500002 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Jan. 19, 2016): Ms. Thompson and Mr. Montalvo were appellate defense counsel. They argued the military judge committed error when he used “human lie detector” testimony in finding the client guilty. The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, and set aside the conviction thereby reinstating their client into the Marine Corps.

United States v. Specialist Kesha R. Conner Specialist Kesha R. Conner was convicted on five different counts and sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge. Eric Montalvo of The Federal Practice Group was able to was able to successfully argue before ACCA on appeal that that the trial court judge in the original trial abused his discretion thereby materially prejudicing appellant’s substantial rights. Based on these findings her verdict was overturned.

U.S. v. Javier Vicente Cuevas SSG Javier Vicente Cuevas was charged with abusive sexual contact in violation of Article 120, UCMJ. After a several day jury trial before a military panel Eric Montalvo of The Federal Practice Group secured a full acquittal.

Captain Trey R. Sedenka v. Board for Correction of Naval Records Mr. Montalvo represented Captain Trey R. Sedenka before the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) in a case where the correction of Captain’s Sedenka’s naval record allowed him to recover the military incentive pay he was promised and was improperly denied upon his entry into the service. The Board found that an injustice had occurred and granted full relief.

U.S. v. James Bowling, Craig Allan Kolhagen and Dennis Pennington Craig Allan Kolhagen was represented by Eric Montalvo of The Federal Practice Group in which he and two others were indicted for wire fraud, major fraud against the United States and Mr. Kolhagen was independently charged with disclosing source selection information. Through motions practice Mr. Montalvo and his team successfully argued for a dismissal of the indictment. Mr. Kolhagen was also confronted with being administratively separated from the Marine Corps as a result of the charges. Mr. Montalvo and his team contested the administrative separation and achieved a full retention recommendation and saved Mr. Kolhagen’s retirement.

Army v. CW2: CW2 facing a Board of Inquiry for a prior General Officer Memorandum of Record successfully retained.

Army v. Captain: Captain facing a Board of Inquiry for a prior General Officer Memorandum of Record permitted to honorably retire.

Army v. Captain: Captain, who was a medical officer, faced a Board of Inquiry for substandard performance and misconduct. The officer was retained.

Marine Corps v. CWO3: CWO3 facing a Board of Inquiry for alleged misconduct related to government contracting was retained, and ultimately allowed to retire.

Naval Discharge Review Board (MD16-01367): Ms. Thompson successfully upgraded the discharge of a Marine to Honorable when it was revealed the Marine Corps had discharged him with a general under honorable in violation of the applicable regulations.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

An Adjustment of Status Paved Our Client’s Way Towards Citizenship: After USCIS had denied the client an adjustment of status application and was placed in removal proceedings, Ms. Lockwood was able to obtain a stay of the proceedings to allow for adjudication of a new adjustment of status application and ultimately terminate the removal proceedings. The client is now happily on their way to becoming a US Citizen.

From Removal Proceedings to U-VISA holder: The client was placed in removal proceedings when they contacted Ms. Lockwood. Ms. Lockwood was able to obtain a U-visa based on their status as a crime victim and ultimately terminate the proceedings before the immigration court. The client is now a U-visa holder and applying for adjustment of status to that of a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Winning a Citizenship Petition: After the client feared they had lost status as a lawful permanent resident and being told by multiple attorneys nothing could be done, the client sought the services of The Federal Practice Group. Ms. Lockwood was able to obtain a new lawful permanent resident card and also successfully win the client’s citizenship petition.  The client was sworn in as a US Citizen on December 15, 2018.

Spouse Becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident: The client’s spouse, a national from Afghanistan, had been denied a family-based immigrant visa based on a finding of terroristic activities.  Ms. Lockwood and The Federal Practice Group were able to successfully obtain a reversal of the finding of terroristic activities and obtain an approved immigrant visa. The client’s spouse is now in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident, and after six years of marriage can finally live together in the United States.