Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Friday, November 01, 2002

12 million jury verdict for 26 year employee for taking family leave

Just from a brief newspaper article with only the barest of facts you can sense some of the things that might have been problems in this case: a long term employee, at one time selected as employee of the year, terminated (it sounds like it might have been close to the time he was selected employee of the year), for a reason that a jury could empathize with, taking leave to take care of his elderly parents. If either management or counsel for the hospital came across as arrogant or deceptive, it would have been an almost perfect example of the types of factors that can cause a jury to really "go south on you" as trial lawyers like to say. In this case it was a Chicago federal jury, but it could have been anywhere. A $10 million punitive damage award was under the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.


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