Press Release
MEDIA ADVISORY: As U.S. Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Oral Arguments in Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals Petitioner and Legal Experts to Discuss Case’s Implications for Millions of State Workers

On January 11th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals a case likely to determine whether millions of state workers will continue to have access to the vitally important self-care medical leave provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). On Thursday, the petitioner will join his counsel and two authors of friend-of-the-court briefs for an audio media briefing to discuss what is at stake in the case.

WHEN:    2:00 p.m. eastern, Thursday, January 5th

WHAT:    Audio press briefing on Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals


Judith L. Lichtman, Senior Advisor, National Partnership for Women & Families, an attorney and the nation’s foremost expert on the FMLA. The National Partnership drafted and led the fight to pass the FMLA, and filed an amicus brief on Coleman’s behalf, which was joined by leading women’s, senior, labor and other groups.

Daniel A. Coleman, Petitioner and a former employee at the Maryland Court of Appeals who was fired when he requested leave to deal with a serious medical condition.

Michael L. Foreman, Counsel for Petitioner, Professor of Law, Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law.

Mark E. Haddad, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP, Counsel for friend-of-the-court brief filed by members of Congress.

WHERE:    Dial 1-800-311-9403, Passcode: Coleman1 (Coleman-One)

INFO:    Background materials on the case will be available at beginning on Wednesday, January 4th.

In 1993, Congress passed the FMLA to address persistent sex discrimination caused by inadequate employee leave policies by private employers as well as states. Under the law, workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to recover from a serious illness or medical condition, including pregnancy or childbirth, or to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child or a seriously ill family member.

In 2007, Daniel Coleman was working as an employee of the Maryland court system. He requested medical leave under the FMLA’s self-care provision after his doctor prescribed bed rest to treat a serious medical condition. Within hours, his employer fired him. Coleman subsequently filed suit in federal court, seeking a remedy for the state’s violation of his right to take medical leave to recover from illness under the FMLA.

Lower courts ruled against Coleman, based on the 11th Amendment’s state sovereign immunity provision, although the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that the FMLA’s family leave provision applies to state government employees. Coleman appealed the decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday, January 11th, at 10 a.m. A decision against Coleman could deny millions of state employees critical rights under the FMLA.

For more information, contact us:

National Partnership for Women & Families logo

National Partnership Media Line
(202) 986-2600

About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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