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Taylor v. Gordon Flesch Co.

June 16, 1986

RAYFORD L. TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
GORDON FLESCH COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 85-C-33-S--John C. Shabaz, Judge.

Author: Barker

Before CUMMINGS, Chief Judge, CUDAHY, Circuit Judge, and BARKER, District Judge.*fn*

BARKER, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Rayford L. Taylor, filed a complaint against his former employer, Gordon Flesch Company, Inc. ("the Company"), alleging racial harassment, denial of training opportunities, promotions, and appropriate compensation, and constructive discharge in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000e-17 (1982), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (1982). The Company filed a counterclaim seeking an order enforcing an alleged settlement agreement and moved for summary judgment on its counterclaim. Taylor also moved for summary judgment, alleging that the Company prevented him from discovery relating to the Company's counterclaim by invoking the attorney-client privilege. The District Court granted summary judgment to the Company and dismissed Taylor's complaint with prejudice. The District Court also ruled that Taylor's motion for summary judgment was not ripe. We AFFIRM.

I.

The facts, viewed in the light most favorable to Taylor, are as follows: On May 11, 1984, Taylor filed a race discrimination charge against the Company with the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission ("MEOC"). On June 27, 1984, the Company filed a written response with the MEOC disputing Taylor's claims.

The MEOC scheduled a fact-finding conference for July 18, 1984. Prior to that conference, Taylor reviewed the Company's response and discussed the case with his attorney, Agnes Rona ("Rona"). In evaluating Taylor's claim and his likelihood of recovery, Rona advised her client of her conclusion that Taylor had probably been badly treated, not because of his race, but because the Company was badly run, and that, in terms of a possible financial recovery against the Company, "the money just wasn't there."

When the parties arrived for the MEOC fact-finding conference, they entered into settlement discussions. Rona represented Taylor in these discussions. The Company was represented by Michael Auen ("Auen"). After some discussion, Auen proposed a settlement on the following terms:

1. Taylor would leave his job at Gordon Flesch Company and not seek reemployment with the Company.

2. Taylor would withdraw all pending charges and provide the Company with a full and complete release of all claims.

3. The Company would not contest Taylor's eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits.

4. The Company would pay Taylor $1,300.00.

5. The Company would furnish Taylor with a letter of reference ...


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