Rouse v. Forsyth County

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Opinion Filed February 28, 2020
Amicus Brief Writers John Gresham Travis Payne
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 1PA19

NCAJ filed an amicus brief in the NC Supreme Court arguing that the Court of Appeals decision completely ignored provisions of N.C.G.S. 126 , the State Human Resources Act (SHRA), that specifically authorize an administrative law judge to award employees covered by the SHRA back pay and attorney’s fees when it is determined that the employee was illegally fired. 

It also addressed the important purpose and policy of allowing attorney’s fees to be awarded to prevailing employees, because many of the public employees covered by the SHRA receive low to moderate pay and cannot afford to retain competent counsel to effectively represent them, absent the possibility/likelihood of an award of fees in successful cases.  Further, the Court of Appeals made a distinction about the type of relief that local employees could obtain and denied the plaintiff, who was a local employee, the right to obtain attorney fees and back pay as allowed by the SHRA.