By M. Davis Ready, Susan M. Caruso, Charles E. Riley, IV, and Douglass F. Wynne

Many businesses are presently burdened with the task of cutting the cost of doing business so that they may survive the current economic climate. It is an unfortunate truth that for some companies, reducing business costs may be achieved only by downsizing the size of the workforce. However, even if downsizing appears unavoidable, a company should remain aware of the risks that come with the termination of employees -- the most serious risk being the potential for a backlash of administrative claims and lawsuits (under federal and/or state laws) for employment discrimination and wrongful termination.

By Robert Redfearn, Jr.

A potent and well known trial tactic is for one party to call the other party or the other party’s representative as an adverse witness during the presentation of its case. This tactic primarily benefits the plaintiff since the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s representative will in all probability have testified by the time the defendant puts on its case. When the defendant is a corporation or other legal entity, the corporate representative attending trial is a particularly attractive target for the plaintiff to call as an adverse witness. Although the corporate representative should be prepared for this possibility, a deeper consideration is whether steps can be taken by the defendant to prevent or blunt the use of this tactic against its corporate representative. Stated conversely, it can be asked whether there are any limits on the plaintiff’s right to call the person attending trial as the designated corporate representative as an adverse witness as part of the plaintiff’s case, particularly if that person is designated for “appearance” purposes only.

Our firm was the first tenant in the Energy Centre in July 1984. We have renewed our lease and are happy to call the Energy Centre home for the next 15 years.

The firm is announcing the formation of an appellate group, headed by Jim Burton, which will be accepting selected cases for briefing to the state and federal appellate courts.

Bruce Shreves has been certified as an IMI mediator by the International Mediation Institute.

Denise Puente recently spoke at the ABA Fidelity & Surety meeting in La Jolla, California on the topic of litigation issues.

David Bienvenu has been appointed to the American Bar Association Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

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