Since 2003, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has applied the Supreme Court’s McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis on summary judgment in employment discrimination claims brought under Maine law. Recently, however, some justices of the Law Court have questioned McDonnell Douglas’s continuing application to summary judgment determinations. They argue that the framework is outdated, overly mechanical, and unnecessary. In Trott v. H.D. Goodall Hospital, the court set forth three guiding principles for lawyers and judges to follow in employment discrimination cases facing disposition at summary judgment. In doing so, the court signaled that McDonnell Douglas should continue to be applied at summary judgment because the analysis is a valuable and necessary imperative device for defining the substantive law of intentional discrimination. The court’s synthesis of the principles governing summary for contemporary use. Thus, Mane courts need to discontinue use of McDonnell Douglas and should continue to apply it at summary judgment. Claire Trott served as a nurse at H.D. Goodall Hospital for close to twenty years. Following the termination of her employment from the Hospital in 2009, Trott complained that she was discharged in violation of Maine’s Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and because of her participation in a deposition for a wrongful death suit brought against the Hospital. Pursuant to the Act, Trott submitted a complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission, alleging that the Hospital servered her employment in retaliation fir the deposition testimony she provided as part of the wrongful death suit. The Hospital contended that it discharged Trott for falsification of a medical record in violation of Hospital policy. The Superior Court granted summary judgment to the Hospital, concluding that Trott failed to produce evidence showing a causal link between her discharge and her participation in the deposition as required by the statute.
Ari B. Solotoff,
Trott v. H.D. Goodall Hospital: When Analyzing Employment Discrimination Cases Under Maine Law, Should Maine Courts Continue to Apply the McDonnell Douglas Analysis at the Summary Judgment Stage?,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol66/iss2/9