Employment Practice Group Scores Big Win for Oriental Bank

Our Employment Practice Group’s attorneys prevailed at trial in a wrongful termination, retaliation, workplace harassment, disability discrimination, breach of contract and negligence claim filed by a former employee and her spouse. The Court entered judgment dismissing all claims filed by the plaintiff against Oriental Bank and the plaintiff’s former supervisor, both represented by Delgado & Fernández, LLC.

The Court ruled that plaintiff’s repeated poor performance and violations of bank policies constituted just cause for the termination from her employment and highlighted the inconsistencies in plaintiff’s testimony during the cross examination of the plaintiff conducted by Alfredo Fernández Martínez. In its judgment the Court reiterated the standard that Act 80 does not require employers to follow a formalistic approach to progressive discipline as long as the employee is informed of her deficiencies by her supervisor and she fails to timely correct them.  The testimonies of the plaintiff’s former supervisors and co-workers, elicited through the direct examinations conducted by Alejandra M. Arnaldy Figueroa, supported the Court’s conclusion that her termination met the standard of Act No. 80.

In a well-reasoned opinion, the Court analyzed each and every one of the claims filed by the plaintiff (disability discrimination, retaliation, workplace harassment, breach of contract and negligence) and concluded that the evidence admitted at trial was insufficient to support these claims.  Moreover, the Court ruled that plaintiff failed to establish prima facie claim of retaliation and that a four-month span between her internal claim and her termination was substantially remote and unrelated to justify her retaliation claim.  As to her disability discrimination claim, the Court decided that the employee’s disability was informed to the employer after she was terminated from her employment and, for this reason, could not be the reason for her termination.  The contingent claim filed by the former employee’s spouse was dismissed as none of the employee’s primary claims survived trial and the Court reiterated the norm that in the employment context, the exclusive remedy for termination is in Act No. 80, and dismissed the breach of contract claim filed by the former employee.  The attorneys representing Oriental Bank included the Head of the Litigation Practice Group, Alfredo Fernández Martínez and Associate Attorney, Alejandra M. Arnaldy Figueroa.

Guillermo López v. Oriental Financial Services, LLC

Successfully defended brokerage firm before a FINRA arbitration panel in a $15 million claim of alleged unsuitable transactions in Puerto Rico government bonds and mutual funds. All claims were denied.

ML-CFC 2007-6 Properties, LLC v. BPP Properties, 951 F. 3d 41 (1st Cir. 2020)

Obtained reversal of a district court order appointing a receiver for six shopping centers. The First Circuit decided that a Magistrate Judge lacked authority to issue a receivership order, deeming it a dispositive motion.

Roldán Flores v. M. Cuebas, Inc., 2018 TSPR 18

Successfully defended acquiring company in an employee claim for unjust termination. In a published opinion, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court also established the standard of review and formalities needed to be followed in the filing of a motion for summary judgment in Puerto Rico courts.

Meléndez González v. M. Cuebas, 2015 TSPR 70

Successfully defended successor employer in former employee claim for unjust termination.  In a published opinion, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court set the standard of review by the Court of Appeals of motions for summary judgment.

Miramar Marine, Inc. v. Citi Walk Dev. Corp., 2017 TSPR 141

Defended claim for personal liability of shareholders after corporation was dissolved.  In a published opinion, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decided for the first time that the only remedy available to liquidate property of a dissolved corporation is the appointment of a receiver by the Court.

Estelar v. Aut. Edificios Públicos, 2011 TSPR 139

Represented surety in an arbitration claim. In a published opinion, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decided that the jurisdiction of an arbitration panel to issue an award can be extended by the mutual agreement of the parties.

Badillo Santiago v. García, 70 F. Supp. 2d 84 (D.P.R. 1999)

Successfully defended the Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court in an Americans with Disabilities Act claim filed by a citizen alleging the Court’s Administration failed to accommodate him during trial.