EEOC v. Tricore Reference Laboratories

EEOC must pay attorneys fees after pursuing frivolous litigation of meritless claims (Tenth Circuit)

U.S. Chamber's Position

NCLC urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to affirm a district court ruling that properly found the EEOC liable under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for the defendant’s attorney’s fees, because the EEOC continued to pursue frivolous litigation long after the EEOC should have known its claims were meritless. The case stems from a district court’s dismissal of an EEOC lawsuit against TriCore for allegedly unlawful discrimination under the ADA. The district court dismissed the EEOC’s case in its entirety, and awarded attorney’s fees to the prevailing defendant on the ground that the EEOC’s action was frivolous, unreasonable, and without foundation. According to NCLC’s amicus brief, the EEOC frivolously chose to move forward with its lawsuit even after conceding the absence of a crucial element of its prima facie case. NCLC also argued that the EEOC’s unreasonably aggressive enforcement tactics are harmful to employers and employees alike. NCLC urged the court to penalize the EEOC for engaging in litigation abuses. 

Case Outcome

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court ruling finding the EEOC liable under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for the defendant’s attorney’s fees, because the EEOC continued to pursue frivolous litigation long after the EEOC should have known its claims were meritless.

Procedural History

Amicus brief filed 3/3/12.  Decision 8/16/12.

Case Documents