Kerri Gallagher writes:

The Eleventh Circuit recently held that when determining whether a plaintiff’s inconsistent statements are intended to make a mockery of the judicial system, a court must evaluate all facts and circumstances of the case rather than simply make an inference.  See Slater v. U.S. Steel Corp., No. 12 15548 (11th Cir. June 12, 2018).

In Slater v. U.S. Steel Corp., the plaintiff failed to disclose to the Bankruptcy Court that she was prosecuting employment discrimination claims against the defendant.  Citing Burnes v. Pemco Aeroplex, Inc., 291 F.3d 1282, 1283 (11th Cir. 2002), the defendant moved to dismiss her claims under the judicial estoppel doctrine.  The district court granted the motion to dismiss, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

Rehearing the case en banc, the Eleventh Circuit overruled portions of Burnes, which permitted the inference that a plaintiff intended to make a mockery of the judicial system by failing to disclose a civil claim.  Slater v. U.S. Steel Corp. (“Slater II”), 871 F.3d 1174, 1185 (11th Cir. 2017).  Instead, the Eleventh Circuit held that, instead of making an inference, a court should evaluate “all the facts and circumstances of the particular case,” and provided a non-exhaustive list of facts for consideration.  Id.

Citing its holding in Slater II, the Eleventh Circuit in the instant action, found that the district court failed to consider any relevant facts in granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Accordingly, the Court vacated the summary judgment order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Kerri Gallagher is a summer associate in Fox Rothschild’s Philadelphia office.