Continuance sought in malpractice suit over botched gender discrimination claim

David Yates Feb. 22, 2012, 7:00am

A Galveston attorney is seeking to continue a legal malpractice suit brought by a former client -- a male Lamar University professor who sued the college claiming he did not receive tenure due to his gender.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, in February 2008 plaintiff Michael Jordan brought a discrimination suit against Lamar, alleging he was denied tenure because of his gender.

On Feb. 17, 2011, Ninth Court of Appeals of Texas granted Lamar immunity because Jordon failed to timely file his claim with the Texas Commission on Human Rights no later than 180 days after he learned of the department's allegedly discriminatory votes against the tenure promotion," court papers say.

A month later, Jordan filed suit against Galveston attorney Anthony Griffin on March 22, 2011, in Jefferson County District Court, alleging it was his lawyer's fault that he did not timely file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On Feb. 20 Griffin filed a motion for continuance, arguing that a scheduling conflict was a different case will prevent him from attending a bench trial slated for Feb. 23, court papers say.

As of Feb. 21, no ruling on the motion is on file.

Case background

Records show that Jordan applied for tenure on Nov. 14, 2005, and was rejected the following month. He then filed his charge of discrimination on Dec. 7, 2006 - seven months past the 180-day deadline.

In his current lawsuit, Jordan says he paid Griffin $10,000 for his legal expertise, which he relied on when not immediately filing the EEOC charge.

"The Ninth Court of Appeals has ruled that the vast majority of his claims are barred for failure to timely file any EEOC charge of discrimination," the suit states. "At all times, plaintiff operated on the advice of counsel in this regard."

Jordan alleges Griffin is guiltily of gross negligence and legal malpractice.

He is suing for an unspecified judgment and all court costs.

Beaumont attorney John Morgan represents him.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Trial case Nos. E181-188 and D189-638
Appeals case No. 09-10-00292

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