A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is being heralded by a key small business group, which says it will help protect small business owners from burdensome employment discrimination lawsuits.
The case, Sprint v. Mendelsohn, involved so-called “me-too” evidence. That’s where witnesses are called to testify who are not parties to the lawsuit but offer testimony that buttresses a plaintiff’s case. The court ruled that trial judges can exclude the evidence, even if it is relevant, if it unfairly prejudices the jury, confuses the issues or misleads the jury.
The National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief in this case urging the court to reverse a lower court’s decision that allowed the evidence.
“The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today is an important step forward in our justice system for small businesses,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Legal Foundation.
“If ‘me-too’ evidence was required to be admitted, then every plaintiff in an employment discrimination case could produce a number of people to say that they think they were discriminated against by someone at the business, resulting in longer, more drawn-out trials.”