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Carney v. American University

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
151 F.3d 1090 (D.C. Cir. 1998)


Darion Carney (plaintiff), who was African American, was the director of student services at The American University (American) (defendant). Carney was named acting dean of students. Carney applied for the permanent dean position, but was not selected. Carney returned to her role as director of student services. American eliminated Carney’s position two years later during a period of downsizing. Carney sent a letter to American stating that she intended to sue for discrimination. American responded to Carney’s discrimination claim with a settlement letter indicating that Carney might be entitled to an additional three months’ severance pay under American’s personnel policies. However, American did not give Carney the additional three months’ severance pay. Carney brought suit against American in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming, in addition to discrimination, that American’s failure to give her the additional three months’ severance pay was in retaliation for her lawsuit. Carney sought to introduce the letter from American to prove her retaliation claim, but the district court excluded the letter under Federal Rule of Evidence (FRE) 408. The district court granted summary judgment to American. Carney appealed.

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