On September 27, 2002, the Miami office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit under Title VII against Federal Express Corporation in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The EEOC alleged that the defendant had violated the complainant's rights by constructively discharging him in retaliation for complaints of racial discrimination that he made on behalf of two interviewees. On October 10, 2002, the complainant intervened in the case as a plaintiff, alleging that he was entitled to punitive damages under the Florida Whistleblower Act.
On April 13, 2004, Federal Express asked the court for summary judgment, but the district court denied that motion on October 13, 2004. After several failed attempts to settle through mediation, the case went to trial on December 13, 2004. After four days at trial, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding the complainant $201,010.30 in lost wages and $1.37 million in compensatory damages for emotional pain and mental anguish. The defendants asked the court to reverse the verdict by issuing judgment as a matter of law in their favor, or, in the alternative, to grant them a new trial. The court denied these motions, but it did grant their further motion to reduce the compensatory damage award to $350,000. The plaintiff was given his choice of either accepting this reduced amount or going to a new trial on the compensatory damage award.
A second jury trial was held on the issue of punitive damages on December 22, 2004. On the same day, the jury found that the plaintiff was not entitled to punitive damages. The complainant reached a later settlement with the defendant regarding his fees and costs.
Meanwhile, the district court issued another order on May 5, 2005, denying the plaintiff's request for front pay, but issuing an injunction against the defendants that required them to redistribute their anti-discrimination policy to all management officials with supervisory authority over employees at its Maitland, Florida location. After this decision was issued, the plaintiff decided to accept the reduced compensatory damages award.
The defendants appealed all of these judgments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, asking the Eleventh Circuit to grant them judgment as a matter of law. The plaintiff cross-appealed, asked the Eleventh Circuit to award him front pay. On May 11, 2006, the Eleventh Circuit found that the district court's decisions had no reversible error, and they held that the lower court's rulings would stand. E.E.O.C. v. Federal Express Corp., 180 Fed.Appx. 865 (11th Cir. 2006).Justin Kanter - 03/18/2008