Yazzie v. Mohave County – Jones, Skelton & Hochuli attorneys Michele Molinario and Justin Ackerman prevailed by summary judgment in an employment discrimination case against a local County, and various County employees. The case involved the lawful and non-discriminatory termination of Plaintiff, a former road maintenance worker, for a violation of the County Merit Rules pertaining to safety sensitive positions.

Plaintiff, who is of Native American descent, brought claims for racial discrimination pursuant to Title VII and  § 1981, interference with rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona agreed with the County’s position, that Plaintiff’s termination was lawful and non-discriminatory. The majority of the discussion by the Federal Judge concerned the County’s legitimate reasons for terminating Plaintiff, despite her unfounded allegations that her termination was pretext for discrimination, and that Plaintiff’s claims lacked merit because they rested on nothing more than pure speculation.

Michele focuses her practice in the areas of law enforcement defense, correctional defense, employment law and governmental liability. She has tried both state and federal jury and bench trials and administrative law hearings. In addition to her 17 years of trial experience, Michele has an impressive record of obtaining motions for summary judgment or dismissal on behalf of her clients. Since 2010, 32 of the 38 cases she has filed in federal court were disposed of through orders of dismal or summary judgment.

Justin Ackerman represents clients in federal and state appellate matters in cases involving excessive force, wrongful death, personal injury, bad faith, and premises liability. Justin has successfully represented clients at the Arizona Court of Appeals, Arizona Supreme Court, and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.