Jessica Farris Salonus
Ms. Salonus is an Employment and Special Education attorney serving clients throughout Tennessee.
Ms. Salonus zealously represents employees in array of employment matters including cases of age discrimination under the ADEA; leave issues or interference under the FMLA; disability discrimination, retaliation, and failure to accommodate claims under the ADA; discrimination and retaliation under Title VII; and wrongful terminations arising from reporting illegal activities. Ms. Salonus also has an interest in litigating cases involving denial of employee life insurance benefits or interference with pension plan benefits under ERISA.
While she very much enjoys assisting employees and “righting a wrong,” as they say, or assisting employers with legal compliance to prevent claims or illegal treatment of employees, her biggest passion comes from assisting families of children with disabilities in the school environment.
Ms. Salonus has a personal understanding of what it means to be a parent of a child with a disability. Accordingly, Ms. Salonus has an active and dedicated practice securing the services and accommodations a child rightfully deserves under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”), Section 504, and/or the ADA. She also seeks compensation for physical and/or emotional injuries caused to a child as a result of abuse or illegal actions taken against the child by school officials. Additionally, Ms. Salonus litigates cases involving retaliation against parents or teachers who advocate for the rights of children with disabilities.Cases
Some recent case law contributions in the area of special education by Ms. Salonus include:
L.H. v. Hamilton Cnty. Dep't of Educ., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153322, *2 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 4, 2016) (bench trial with judge finding school’s proposed removal of a second grade child with Down syndrome from the general education classroom at his neighborhood school into a comprehensive development classroom ("CDC") at his non-neighborhood school was more restrictive than necessary)
C.G. v. Cheatham Cnty. Bd. of Educ., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46604 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 6, 2016) (denying Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on 504/ADA retaliation claims by parents and child with severe peanut allergies against principal and school)
AC v. Shelby County Bd. of Educ., 711 F.3d 687 (6th Cir. 2013) (retaliation against parents of child with Type 1 diabetes for requesting accommodations was legally sufficient—reversing district court);
WH v. TDOE and Knox County Schools, 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7206 (M.D. Tenn. 2016) (TDOE and Knox County properly sued for allegedly rewarding more restrictive environments than necessary);
L.H. v. Hamilton Cty Dep’t of Educ., 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 166574 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 15, 2015) (approval of $185,000 to child with Down syndrome for alleged systemic violation of rights);
C.G. v. Cheatham Cty, 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 77134 (M.D. Tenn 2015) (retaliation against child and parents of child with severe allergies, under Section 504 and the ADA, does not require exhaustion of administrative remedies);
L.H. v. Hamilton County Dep’t of Educ., 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 55103 (E.D. Tenn. 2015) (the State may be sued for violating rights of child with Down syndrome in county school system);
Cockrill v. Metro Gov’t, 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 3180 (M.D. Tenn. 2015) (special education teacher properly brought claims of retaliation against school when she fought for rights of children with special needs);
Grummons v. Williamson County Bd of Educ., 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 51983 (M.D. Tenn. 2014) (Department of Children’s Services must disclose all documents to parents relating to any alleged retaliation by school system).
Some of Ms. Salonus’ other reported cases include:
Epperson v. Res. Healthcare, 566 Fed. Appx. 433 (W.D. Tenn. 2014) (Sixth Circuit finds sufficient evidence of retaliation against home health nurse);
Coleman v. United Healthcare Servs., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30760 (W.D. Tenn. Mar. 6, 2013) (denying defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s THRA claims);
Jackson v. Longistics Transp., Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52398 (W.D. Tenn. Apr. 13, 2012) (denying defendant’s motion for summary judgment because defendant had not shown that an accommodation of plaintiffs’ beliefs would have imposed an undue hardship);
Meyer v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130547 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 13, 2012) (awarding sanctions and fees against defendant for discovery abuse);
Adams v. Tenn. Farmers Mut. Ins. Co., 2010 Tenn. App. LEXIS 262 (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 13, 2010) (upholding decision of the Circuit Court for Chester County finding in favor of plaintiff insured for breach of contract).Settlements
Ms. Salonus works hard for her clients to obtain favorable settlements and avoid lengthy litigation whenever possible. For example, she has helped obtain a $200,000 settlement in a single-plaintiff First Amendment retaliation and ADA failure to accommodate case; a $150,000 settlement for a couple who was terminated after reporting illegal activity; a $127,000 settlement in a single-plaintiff disability discrimination claim; a $300,000 settlement in a single-plaintiff ERISA violation; and a $75,000 single-plaintiff settlement in a FMLA retaliation case. Additionally, she has recently assisted in obtaining numerous six-figure settlements for damages incurred by public school-children and their parents.Educational Background and Bar Admissions:
Ms. Salonus attended Louisiana State University on a full academic scholarship, graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. While at LSU, Ms. Salonus was a member and Vice President of Finance of the Delta Gamma sorority. She then received her law degree from the University of Memphis, where she also graduated with honors.
While in law school, Ms. Salonus was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence for Best Appellate Brief and CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Legal History and Juvenile Law. She was also the recipient of the Sam A. Myar, Jr. Law Scholarship, Kathryn Hookanson Law Fellowship, and Donald & Susie Polden Dean’s Scholarship. In addition, Ms. Salonus was a member and the Managing Editor of the University of Memphis Law Review.
Ms. Salonus is admitted to practice before the Tennessee Supreme Court, all Tennessee trial and appellate courts, and the United States District Court for the Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of Tennessee.Memberships/Activities
Ms. Salonus is a member of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, and the Tennessee Employment Lawyers Association. Ms. Salonus is also an active member of the Council of Parents, Advocates, & Attorneys (“COPAA”), an outstanding organization of advocates and lawyers for students with disabilities. Ms. Salonus was selected to serve as a Staff Attorney for COPAA. In that capacity, Ms. Salonus assists the organization in writing Amicus Curiae briefs on behalf of students with disabilities throughout the country as well as position statements to educate COPAA’s members on new legislation or court opinions.
Additionally, Ms. Salonus was an Associate Member of the Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court from 2012-2014 as well as a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Class of 2015.
Ms. Salonus is also an avid supporter of the Jackson Symphony, serving on their Board of Directors and Audience Advancement Committee.Other
Ms. Salonus resides in Jackson, Tennessee with her husband, Graham, and two little boys, Grey and Jack. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family golfing, boating on Kentucky Lake, and supporting the Tennessee Titans and LSU Tigers.