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8 September 2006

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP Partners Secure Full Defense Verdict in Discrimination Case

8 September 2006 - A seven-person jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has returned a full defense verdict for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP client Archstone-Smith Communities LLC in the matter of Faulk v. Archstone-Smith Communities, LLC. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw partners Jeffrey Piell (Chicago) and Andrew Nicely (Washington, D.C.) tried the case for Archstone.

The plaintiff, a 60-year-old African-American man and 35-year employee of Archstone (and its predecessor), filed suit alleging race and age discrimination after he was terminated from his position as an apartment building maintenance technician in 2003. The plaintiff asserted that his termination was orchestrated by a new supervisor, a 30-year-old Hispanic man, who allegedly announced his intent to replace the current maintenance staff with a younger, Hispanic team.

In Archstone's defense, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw attorneys presented evidence that the supervisor did not make the offending comments, had no plan to replace plaintiff, and was not involved in the actual decisions that led to plaintiff's termination. Rather, the actual decision-maker was a vice president in Archstone's Human Resources Department, who took the plaintiff out of service to determine whether the plaintiff could still perform the strenuous maintenance work. Plaintiff was terminated only after he failed to submit the required documentation.

Despite repeated requests by the trial judge that the parties settle the case, the plaintiff refused to negotiate and suggested to the jury that a multi-million dollar verdict was the only way to compensate the plaintiff and punish Archstone. After less than three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a full defense verdict, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish either race or age discrimination.

In addition to Mr. Piell and Mr. Nicely, the trial support team included Archis Parasharami and David Lisitza in Washington, D.C., and Maritoni Kane and Lori Zahalka in Chicago.

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