The Sheppard, White, Kachergus, and DeMaggio team won another appeal in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals last week. The case involved race discrimination and retaliation claims against the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Our client, Captain Eric Mitchell, was the second-highest ranking officer at the department’s training academy and was its only African-American employee at the time the incident occurred.
Mitchell brought suit after a lower-ranking, white lieutenant was appointed as a “liaison” to relay orders to him because he was “easier to talk to” than Mitchell. When Mitchell filed a race discrimination complaint, he was removed from his position at the Training Academy. JFRD moved to get the case thrown out of court, first in the district court and then in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Eleventh Circuit disagreed with JFRD’s position and, in an eight page opinion rendered last week, found that Mitchell had presented sufficient evidence to sustain all of his claims. The court’s opinion can be found here: