There are some theories of law that some courts and most defense lawyers rely on to undermine otherwise good discrimination cases. One of those theories is the “stray remarks” doctrine. In general, the stray remarks doctrine holds that some remarks by management are so remote from the adverse personnel action that they are not relevant. Such remarks are said to be “stray.” I find some of these cases to be result oriented. They are produced by judges who seem to be looking for ways to dismiss a discrimination case. After all, if a remark is truly “stray,” does not that pertain more to the weight of the evidence than to its admissibility? If Jim Bob made a racial remark 20 years ago, does not that still have some relevance, however small?
The decision in Goudeau v. National Oilwell Varco, LP, No. 14-20241 (5th Cir. 7/16/2015) helps clear up some of the confusion