In October 2013, at the insistence of Hershey, United States District Judge Charles Breyer ordered discovery limited to issues surrounding a release signed by some of the former Hershey high-level executives working as Customer Sales Executives (CSEs) and Category Development Managers (CDMs) in their age discrimination case against Hershey, entitled Barnes vs. Hershey (C 12-1334-CRB).

Each of the Plaintiffs in Barnes is over 40.  Before termination, all were long-term employees of Hershey, had exemplary work records, and were terminated under dubious circumstances.  For example, in one case, a long-term employee was forced to interview for what was essentially his own job and, when he was passed over for a younger employee, had to train his younger replacement.  In terminating these older workers, some signed Releases at Hershey’s insistence in order to obtain meager severance benefits.

During the early phase of this case, Hershey used the Release as a fulcrum to convince the Court that limited discovery would result in a more efficient and less costly determination.  But that was not the case.

Instead, Hershey used this limited Discovery Order as a shield to prevent much-needed information from disclosure, raised innumerable objections, resulting in multiple discovery disputes, and the proceedings ground to a virtual halt. As a result, Plaintiffs asked the Court to lift the order.  On May 9, 2004, Judge Breyer lifted the bifurcation of discovery order and made clear that the parties were no longer to proceed with a bifurcated discovery.

As a result, Plaintiffs can now get disclosure of the necessary facts behind their termination and find out the whole story as they proceed to an April 2015 trial date in San Francisco.

If you wish further information contact Brian Malloy at The Brandi Law Firm at 800-481-1615 (bjm@brandilaw.com).

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