Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Closing The Plant Not Always Enough To Cut Off Damages and Those Dangerous Attorneys Fees

At least that was the case in Haggar Apparel Company v. Leal (Ct. App. - Corpus Christi) decided last week. Haggar argued that damages for back wages should be stopped at the time it closed the plant where the successful ADA claimant worked. The Court held even if that date were established, it was not enough, as Haggar had several plants in South Texas and others who worked in her plant had been transferred to other sites.

Even more important, particularly from a dollars standpoint was the way attorneys fees were handled. The company argued the plaintiff had waived her claim to attorneys fees by not submitting it to the jury. The Court held however that in a TCHRA claim, the judge was the appropriate party to make the award so it need not be submitted. In this case, even though the award to the plaintiff totaled about $55,000 the Court awarded $158,000 to newly elected State Representative Aaron Pena.

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