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Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC.

Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Under Title VII

Key Date: April 17, 2019
Status: Pending before 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legal Team: Private Counsel & Lambda Legal
Type: Employment Discrimination

Case Overview:

Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC is a case concerning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The plaintiff in the case is Mark Horton, a gay man legally married in Illinois. After Mark applied for, interviewed, was offered, and accepted a job at Midwest Geriatric, LLC, the job offer was rescinded, following his disclosure to management that he was married to a man.

Mark sued Eastern District of Missouri under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The case was filed by Mark S. Schuver and Natalie T. Lorenz at Mathis and Marifian, Ltd. and is now being led with Lambda Legal as co-counsel.

The case is especially significant on a national level because it argues, as many courts have ruled in the past, that existing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sex also extend to discrimination based on sexual orientation. Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against people based on their sex – and many litigators over the course of many years have successfully argued that this also protects LGBT people from employment discrimination. The Horton case stands to set the precedent for the entire 8th Circuit, which covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Latest in the Case:

On December 21, 2017 the district court dismissed Horton’s Title VII claims, citing existing precedent in the Eighth Circuit, which dates back to June 2, 1989’s Williamson v. A.G. Edwards and Sons. 

The case was heard by a three-judge panel from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 17, 2019.

Case History:

  • April 22, 2016: Mark Horton is sent a written offer to take a job as VP of Sales and Marketing by Midwest Geriatric Management.
  • May 4, 2016: Horton accepts the offer and is enthusiastically welcomed by the company’s President and CEO Judah Beinstock and his wife Faye Beinstock.
  • May 17, 2016: Horton discloses his sexual orientation in an email to Faye Bienstock.
  • May 22, 2016: Bienstock rescinds Horton’s offer of employment via email.
  • June, 2016: Horton learns the position he was offered remains open. When he inquires about the position, he is told they are considering other candidates.
  • August 28, 2016: Horton files suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, with his legal team arguing that Midwest Geriatric Management violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it rescinded his employment offer after learning he was gay.
  • December 21, 2017: The District Court rules against Horton and dismisses his Title VII claims.
  • March 7, 2018: Lambda Legal joins in the representation of Horton, and files an appeal with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • January 29, 2019: The Attorney General of Michigan withdraws the amicus brief it previously submitted (which argued that Title VII’s sex discrimination ban does not cover  discrimination based on sexual orientation) because it no longer represents the view of the State of Michigan.
  • April 17, 2019: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals holds oral argument in the case before a three-judge panel.

Last Updated May 1, 2019

District Court Ruling (12/21/17) News Article on 8th Circuit Argument (4/17/19)

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