Appellate Court Upholds Florida’s Open Carry Firearm Ban

271093316_b474d4d8bf_oA Florida appeals court upheld the state’s ban on the open carrying of guns, ruling that the state could regulate the manner in which citizens carry arms.

Appellant Dale Norman with the support of Florida Carry, which is a pro-gun lobbyist group, petitioned the court on an issue of first impression, asking the court to determine “whether the Second Amendment forbids the State of Florida from prohibiting the open carry of firearms while permitting the concealed carry of weapons under a licensing scheme.”

The issue arose after Norman was arrested while in possession of a firearm that he was carrying openly. Norman was charged with Open Carrying of a Weapon in violation of section 790.053, Florida Statues (2012), which prohibits the open carry of a firearm.

Currently in the United States, 44 states allow the open carry of a firearms — 30 states allow open carry without a license and 14 states require a permit for open carry. However, in six states open carry is not permitted: Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, New York, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia.

Keep and bear arms

Norman asserted that the statute was unconstitutional because he had a constitutional right to “keep and bear arms,” and that the law infringed upon his Second Amendment right by prohibiting him from “the carry of firearms that are unconcealed even those people to whom the state has issued a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.”

Norman’s argument forced the court to conduct a thorough interpretation of the Second Amendment in order to parse out the scope of the protection that the founders intended. The US Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller, 478 F. 3d 370, that the Second Amendment protects the right of an individual to keep a gun inside his home in order to ensure his protection.

However, the Florida court went on to say “the Supreme Court found that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to carry arms in case of confrontation, including the general right to carry a weapon outside the home for self-defense.”

The court reasoned that not allowing the carrying of a handgun outside the home for self-defense purposes would bar the true meaning of bearing arms as set forth in the Second Amendment. However the court also looked to the Florida Constitution, which states:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.

Laws that regulate only the “manner in which persons may lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights,” US v. Marzzarella, 614 F.3d at 97 (3d Cir. 2010), have been held to be less burdensome than those which bar firearm possession completely. See US v. Decastro, 682 F.3d 160, 166 (2d Cir. 2012).

Therefore, because the statute regulated only the manner in which Florida citizens could exercise their Second Amendment right, it was constitutional, and the court affirmed the trial court decision upholding the ban on open carrying within the state of Florida.

The case is Dale Norman v. State of Florida; Case No. 4D12-3525 (February 18, 2015).

Documentary “Peace Officer” Investigates Militarization of Police

Peace Officer Film

The film exposes police use of military weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, and flash grenades.

Director Scott Christopherson takes you behind the scenes of police militarization in a new documentary entitled “Peace Officer.” The film gives the world an opportunity to to look at what is truly causing the high number of police brutality incidents in America.

The film examines the journey of Dub Lawrence, who was a former sheriff and founder of his state’s SWAT team. However there is a twist to his story. The same SWAT team that Lawrence founded was responsible for killing his son-in-law years later.

Operating like the military

After witnessing such a heinous crime, Lawrence began investigating police brutality, and uncovering the numerous amounts of senseless killings by police that have occurred over time. He posits that police officers are no long “peace officers,” but instead they are now operating under the same authority as the military.

The film highlights the errors that we as society have made as a whole. By allowing police officers to act in the same manner as military personnel, we have caused them to believe and to adopt a mind set similar to that of a military service member.

The film has become an eye opener in the wake of the current conflicts that are currently erupting nationwide. The Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, led to riots and police operating in the capacity of military officials. Peace Officer demonstrates that police militarization has become the norm in our country, and that it must be stopped — or else innocent people will continue to be killed.

The film exposes police use of military weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, and flash grenades just to name a few. Peace Officer questions the need for these types of weapons to protect civilians, as well as the impact that having access to these weapons has had on the mentality of our said peace officers.

Finally, the film leaves you asking one question, “Have we allowed our peace to be purchased with violence?”

Show times and locations for Peace Officer can be found at www.peaceofficerfilm.com/screenings.

 

California Bicyclist Awarded $34 Million After Losing Leg Due to a Trucker’s Negligence

Man's leg is amputated after being hit by a trailer while waiting at a stop sign

As the truck driver turned, he failed to ensure that he had ample space to avoid hitting a bicyclist.

A California jury awarded 21-year old Alan Casillas $34 million after he was struck by a truck trailer when a negligent employee made an improper turn.

It is believed to be the largest below-the-knee amputation verdict in California.

Casillas was 19 at the time of the accident and was a construction worker. Like many teenagers in Southern California, Casillas owned a beach cruiser bicycle that he had been riding on the day of the accident.

Trailer drove over sidewalk

He was riding westbound on Tweedy Boulevard in Los Angeles when he came to a stop. While waiting to proceed, trailer operator Francisco Azurdia came driving down Tweedy Boulevard. As Azurdia attempted to make a turn, he failed to ensure that he had ample space to make the turn safely.

The 55-foot trailer “drove over the sidewalk, striking Casillas’ bike and knocking him to the ground,” according to plaintiff lawyers Brian J. Panish and Thomas A. Schultz of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Los Angeles, CA. Panish is a member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100. The rear “wheels of the trailer ran over Casillas’ left leg.” His leg was amputated and he suffered from severe emotional distress. Casillas was hospitalized for a total of 54 days, and has now been forced to wear a prosthesis

Casillas brought suit against both Azurdia and the owners of the trailer in question, Landstar Ranger. Casillas claim asserted that Azurdia violated California Vehicle Code Section 22107, which pertains to unsafe turning movements. He also argued that Landstar was vicariously liable because Azurdia was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident.

Defense blames the victim

The defense asserted that Casillas was comparatively or equally at fault. Its argument was that had Casillas been paying attention, and not been on his cell phone, he could have assisted in avoiding the collision with the trailer.

After a long two-week trial, the jury returned a 12-0 verdict awarding Casillas as follows:

  • $5,187,230 for future medical cost
  • $66,099 past lost earnings
  • $672,540 future lost earnings
  • $754,351 past medicals (stipulated)
  • $11,700 past non-economic damages
  • $16,175 future non-economic damages.

 

The case is Alan Casillas v. Landstar Ranger Inc., and Francisco Azurdia and Does 1-50, Inclusive, Case No. BC500485

Hertz Employee Ridicules Customers on Facebook and Draws Negligence Suit

3560862012_4d513f8c0e_oAfter being ridiculed by a Hertz employee on social media, a frequent gold card presidential circle customer filed a negligence claim against the car rental company, asserting that it was negligent in hiring the insulting employee.

Social media continues to be an outlet for both young and old alike to broadcast their thoughts and express their opinions via the internet. However employers are finding themselves in situation such as the one that arose here. Employers are now being backed into a corner — do they fire their employees for the comments they post on their Facebook pages? Or do they keep them and risk being sued?

Insulting Facebook exchange

Maurice Howard of Hawii brought suit after employee Shawn Akina posted a comment on his Facebook page stating,  “I seen Maurice’s bougie ass walking Kahului beach road . . . n*** please!” after Akina posted this comment, other Hertz employees began commenting on his post. The following exchange ensued:

[co-worker:] run that faka over!!! lol.

[Akina] i was tempted too, but nah, i had a white car, neva like u guys scrub da blood off.

[co-worker comment:] What no BMW for h today?

[Akina] now he knows we got Mercedes, he’s gunna drive those. It’s too bad his CC declines all the time.

[co-worker:] Hahahaha . . . he still renting huh LOL.

[another co-worker:] No more Troy his favorite boy though! Sorry Troy!

Negligent hiring and supervision

Howard initially filed a vicarious liability and respondeat superior claim against Hertz, however, he dismissed those claims and pursued claims based on the theories of negligent hiring and supervision.

In order for a plaintiff to establish a prima facie claim of negligence, the defendant must have had a duty, breached the duty, and caused damages.

In his complaint, Howard established that Hertz had a duty to ensure that its employees acted appropriately as it pertained to the scope of their employment. Hertz breached that duty when its employees began ridiculing its customers on public social media websites, which are accessible to any and everyone at all times.

Hertz responded that it was not foreseeable that its employees would engage in such behavior. However, Akina rebutted that argument and has offered the court evidence of multiple occasions where Akina posted information about Hertz customers on his Facebook page. Howard asserted that because Hertz knew about the prior instances and failed to rectify the situation, by either disciplining Akina or taking steps to deter him from engaging in this type of manner, it acted in a negligent manner.

The case is Howard v. Hertz Corp., 13-00645 (D. Hawaii, Oct. 23, 2014)

Illegal Alien Recovers $500,000 for Shooting by Border Agent

Border Patrol agent shoots illegal immigrant forced to pay $500,000.

Border Patrol agent shoots illegal immigrant forced to pay $500,000.

U.S. District Judge James A. Soto of Tucson, Arizona, awarded Jesus Castro, an immigrant and citizen of Mexico, $500,000 in damages, after a border patrol agent shot Castro in his spine.

The need for border patrol has increased drastically in recent years due to the growing amount of illegal immigrant traffic that has flooded the United States. Castro was among a group of illegal immigrants that attempted to cross over into Walker Canyon, Arizona.

When border agent Abel Canales received notice that a group of illegal immigrants were attempting to enter, he immediately made his way over to them. According to the record, Canales approached the immigrants, and when he tried to summon them into a central location, Castro began to run, and threatened Canales with a rock.

In danger of injury or death

Canales stated that at this point he felt threatened and “he felt he was in immediate danger of serious injury or death,” therefore, he was left with no other choice but to shoot Castro. Canales shot Castro in his spine, and left him permanently injured, impairing his ability to walk.

Castro then filed suit against Canales for his use of excessive force. The due process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution endows an alien with the right to to bring suit, in spite of his illegal presence. Although this has become an extremely controversial area of law, the majority of states have maintained that illegal aliens should not be afforded the same rights and liberties as a citizen.

However in In Wong Wing v. United States, the court held that “an alien who was unlawfully present in the country was not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Therefore, although Castro was not a citizen, he was still entitled to due process of law.

Canales argued that the shooting was justified because Castro attempted to assault him with a deadly weapon. However, Canales failed to cite any Arizona or federal law that supported his claim that a rock is a deadly weapon. Under A.R.S 13-105, a “Deadly weapon” means anything designed for lethal use, including a firearm.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-105. The court concluded that a rock is not designed for lethal use, although a person may use a rock as a weapon, it does not equal a deadly weapon under the statute.

Additionally, the court found that Canales gave inconsistent testimony. The court held that therefore Castro’s story was more credible than that of Canales. After weighing the totality of the circumstances, the court found in favor of Castro. However, because the court also found that Castro was 10 percent responsible for the damages he suffered, $55,000 was deducted from his award, and it was ordered that he would receive a total of $497,943 which would include his medical bills as well as pain and suffering.

$5 Million Award for Knee Replacement Gone Bad

Women recover $5 million after doctors fail to provide adequate care.

Two doctors missed a pseudoaneruism caused by a knee operation.

After a 20-day trial, a Cook County, Illinois, court jury returned a verdict that awarded Celeste Trevino and her husband Ignacio Trevino $5,835,000 million due to the failure of two doctors to spot a leakage from an artery after a knee replacement operation.

In 2007, Celeste had surgery to replace her right knee. She decided to have her surgery performed by Dr. Mitchell Sheinkop at the Neurologic and Orthopedic Institute of Chicago (NOIC). Two days after the surgery was completed, she began experiencing symptoms of a neurovascular injury:

  • Inability to move her toes.
  • Inability to move her ankle.
  • Constant numbness throughout her right foot.
  • Constant intensified pain, anemia and edema.

 

After Celeste was discharged, she began her post surgery rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Dr. Bonita Alexander-Peterson determined that Celete, had suffered a “severe post-surgical neurovascular injury to her leg.” The doctor advised Celeste that she had developed a pseudoaneurysm.

A pseudoaneurysm is a leakage of arterial blood from an artery into the surrounding tissue. Some pseudoaneurysms resolve themselves, though others require treatment to prevent hemorrhage, an uncontrolled leak or other complications.

As a result she was rushed back into surgery. Celeste underwent a bypass surgery that corrected the pseudoaneurysm and a two-compartment fasciotomy. However, Celeste’s surgeries did not end there. Because of an immense build up of fluids, Celeste had to undergo a four compartment fasciotomy as well. She remained hospitalized until early 2008, and was left with permanent damages including a drop foot, paralysis of both her ankle and toes, and a permanent numbness on her right foot.

Celeste brought suit against doctors Sheinkop and Michael Lee of NOIC. She argued that both doctors acted negligently regarding her post-surgical care. She asserted that on both occasions when Lee and Shienkop checked on her to evaluate her post-surgical recovery, neither of them noticed, nor did they notate, the “swelling and leg pain” that Celeste was suffering.

She argued that, but for the negligence of the NOIC doctors, she would not have suffered the permanent injuries. Had the doctors been diligent, they would have prescribed an “immediate vascular surgery” that would have prevented any injuries from occurring.

At trial Celeste was awarded, $1,250,000 for pain and suffering, $1,500,000 due to loss of a normal life, $1,250,000 for emotional distress, $500,000 for disfigurement, and $835,000 in medical expenses. In addition, the court awarded her husband Ignacio $250,000 for loss of consortium and reasonable value of service, and $250,000 for companionship and sexual relationship. In total the couple received $ 5,835,000 million.

The case is Celeste and Ignacio Trevino v. Mitchell Sheinkop, M.D. and Michael Lee, M.D, case No. 09 L 010604

 

 

 

 

AZ Appeals Court Rejects Long-Standing Rule and Allows Consumers to Sue Drug Manufacturers

The Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a long-standing rule that prohibits patients from suing drug companies for consumer fraud because pharma companies are now marketing directly to consumers.

Arizona Court of Appeals Rejects Long Standing Rule and Allows Consumer to Sue Drug-ManufacturersLying on the label

Writing for a unanimous court, Judge John Gemmill found that the trial court erred when it dismissed a plaintiff’s consumer fraud claim. The Arizona Consumer Fraud Act prohibits “any deception, deceptive or unfair act or practice, fraud, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise.” A.R.S. 44-1522.

The court held that both the promotional materials and the product labeling affirmatively and falsely stated that “using Solodyn for longer than 12 weeks is unknown.” Therefore because the side effects were known and not disclosed, the court found that the plaintiff adequately pled the elements for consumer fraud.

Medicis Pharmaceutical Company had argued that it could not be held liable for the physician’s failures because the physician had access to all of the drug information. However, the court found that this was incorrect. It stated that because “a physician no longer is necessarily the consumer’s sole source of information about the effects, benefits, and risks of the medications he or she takes,” the manufacturer now has a duty to advise patients of the possible risk that he or she may incur.

Therefore, the court of appeals concluded that because of the shift in drug advertising, Arizona consumers can sue a drug manufacturer for fraud. The lower court judgment was vacated and the remanded for further proceedings consistent with the new decision.

Used to treat acne

Amanda Watts was prescribed Solodyn, an oral antibiotic that contains an active ingredient known as minocycline. Solodyn is primarily used to treat chronic acne. Medicis manufactures Solodyn in Scottsdale, Arizona. After receiving her prescription, Watts began using Solodyn for 20 weeks. After two years had passed, Watts returned to her doctor, who again prescribed Solodyn and advised Watts to use it for another 20 weeks.

Prior to using Solodyn, Watts received two “informational publications providing detail about the drug, neither of which disclosed any link between Solodyn use and the development of auto immune disease.”

  • Watts received her first publication from her doctor that advised her about the “MediSAVE” discount purchase program for Solodyn. The publication also mentioned that use of the drug for longer than 12 weeks “had not been studied and is not known.”
  • Additionally, Watts received an informational publication about the drug that mentioned possible side effects as well as safety considerations.

 

Lupus and hepatitis

However, unbeknownst to Watts, the full prescribing information that was not disclosed to consumers stated: “lupus- like syndrome and autoimmune hepatitis are possible results associated with the ‘long-term’ use of minocycline.” Because of Watts’ prolonged use in 2010, she began suffering from debilitating joint pain. She was hospitalized,and diagnosed with “drug-induced lupus and drug-induced hepatitis,” both labeled as known side effects of Solodyn.

Watts’ complaint alleged consumer fraud, product liability and punitive damages claims. She argued that Medicis purposely withheld pertinent facts from consumers. In addition, she asserted that the drug was unreasonably dangerous, and that the company failed to provide accurate and adequate warnings to consumers. The trial court dismissed Watts’s complaint against Medicis, and Watts appealed.

The case is Amanda Watts v. Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, case No.1 CA-CV 13-0358

Defamation Award Overturned in Patient’s Negative Online Review of Doctors

Arizona Court of Appeals Reverses $12 Million Defamation AwardThe Arizona Court of Appeals reversed a trial court ruling that awarded Desert Palm Plastic Surgery $12 million in a defamation suit against an unhappy patient.

The ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, said the 2011 judgment against jazz singer Sherry Petta and the amount of the award to Desert Palm Surgical Group wasn’t supported by adequate evidence and “shocks the conscience of this court.”

The appeals court remanded case to Maricopa County Superior Court for a new trial.

Petta sought out Dr. Albret and Michelle Cabret-Carlotti in hopes of achieving a perfect face through the use of the Cabret-Carlotti’s plastic surgery. Petta had numerous operations done by the couple. Dr. Cabret-Carlotti “performed cosmetic surgery on Petta’s nose and eyelids, and his wife performed a laser resurfacing treatment on Petta’s face.”

After receiving her treatment, Petta was dissatisfied and the doctor-patient relationship began to deteriorate. Dr. Cabret-Carlotti agreed to fix Petta’s nose, but the surgery left thick layers of scar tissue on the surface of her nose, and the process  actually “shortened and curved her nose.”

Doctors were not certified

After going back and forth with the doctors, Petta contacted the Arizona Medical Board and Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency, only to discover that the “doctors were not certified in plastic or cosmetic surgery, or maxillofacial surgery.”

Petta began posting online statements about the horrifying experience she had with Desert Palm Plastic Surgery. She also created a website complaining and warning others about the doctors’ false representation, unethical, unprofessional behavior and incompetence.

In 2008, Cabret-Carlotti filed a complaint against Petta alleging that she had posted false and defamatory statements about the couple through her internet postings. They asserted that Petta omitted pertinent facts and disparaged them while painting the doctors in a false light. The doctors’ complaint stated a cause of action for the following:.

  1. Defamation and libel per se
  2. Tortious interference with medical practice.
  3. Injurious falsehood.
  4. False light invasion of privacy.

 

The doctors also requested a temporary restraining order requesting that the court compel Petta to remove her posting from her website. The restraining order was granted by the superior court and Petta removed her comments.

Petta moved for summary judgment but the trial court denied her request. After a ten-day trial a jury ruled in favor of the doctors, and Petta was ordered to pay $11 million in actual or compensatory damages plus $1 million in punitive damages. Petta then moved for judgment as a matter of law, for remitter and relief from the judgment, however the trial court denied her motion and amended the final judgment in order to “correct an accrual in interest calculation…the court found in favor of the doctors in the amount of $12,009,489.96.” Petta appealed and won a new trial.

Desert Palm et al. v. Petta; No.1 CA-CV 13-0376

Tort Reform Cuts Jury’s Punitive Award From $72 Million to $37 Million

Erin's arm after being attacked by the pit bulls

Erin’s arm after being attacked by two pit bulls.

Judge Matthew Robins of Whispering Pines Court in Dekalb County, Georgia reduced a jury award that originally awarded seven-year-old Erin Ingram $72 million to $37 million after finding that it violated Georgia’s punitive damages law.

Pit bulls have undoubtedly gained the reputation of being the country’s most vicious dogs, and after Erin Ingram’s attack, they have proven their reputation to be so. Ingram was shooting baskets in her front yard when she was approached by two pit bulls that charged at her full speed.

She was knocked down by the dogs, and they began biting viciously and tugging at her limbs. Her left arm was amputated, and Ingram was left without an arm and nightmares of the day she almost lost her life.

Vicious dog act

In 2012, Twyann Vaughn owner of the dogs was tried in a criminal case for violating the Georgia Vicious Dog Act, which states:

Owners responsible for dangerous dogs – those dogs that puncture a person’s skin with a bite but do not cause serious injury, or those dogs that kill another owner’s pet – must now:

  • Apply for a certificate of registration for the dog every year.
  • Build a secure enclosure to house the dog.
  • Post warning signs at all entrances to indicate that a dangerous dog lives on the property.

 

If a dog inflicts serious injury on a person, a dog control officer will classify that dog as vicious, and owners of vicious dogs must also:

  • Microchip the pet.
  • Maintain at least $50,000 of liability insurance to cover costs in the event that the dog attacks or damages another’s property a second time.

 

Any vicious dog responsible for a second offense will be euthanized, and owners who violate registration requirements may be fined and imprisoned for infractions.

Previous attacks

This was not the first time that Vaughn’s dogs had attacked the neighborhood children. Several of them said that the same pit bulls had bitten them on previous occasions. Vaughn was sentenced to 16 months in jail, 36 months of probation, and 240 of community service.

The Ingrams then proceeded to file a civil suit due to the physical and mental damage that Erin suffered. At trial, the jury awarded Erin $36,691,278.50 in compensatory damages, and $36 million in punitive damages. The jury mentioned at trial that it hoped to send a message to the owners of vicious dogs, that if they violate the Georgia Vicious Dog Act, that they too will be held liable.

The American Tort Reform Association has played a huge role in limiting the amount of putative awards that a jury can impose on a defendant. The purpose of punitive damages are not to compensate the plaintiff, but to punish the defendant for intentional or malicious misconduct as well as to deter him from similar future misconduct. However, the ATRA claims that throughout the years, excessive punitive damages awards have not served their underlying purpose. Instead, they led to “distorted settlements and litigation processes and have led to wildly inconsistent outcomes in cases.“

The adoption of punitive caps have been in constant motion since as early as the 1980’s when Georgia enacted § 51-12-5.1, as well as recently in 2011, when Tennessee limited its punitive damages to “two times [the] compensatory damages or $500,000 which ever is greater.

After reviewing the award, Judge Matthew Robins reduced the jury award in compliance with § 51-12-5.1, which limits punitive damages to $250,000, therefore making the jury’s initial punitive amount of $36 million unlawful. Although Judge Robins believed that Ingram was entitled to the $72 million, he upheld the law by reducing the award.

The case is Ingram, et.al. v. Vaughn, Case No: 12A-41402-S

Court Recommends Cut in Employee’s Race Verdict from $25 to $2.6 Million

The Second Circuit decision found in Turley is a warning to employers that racism will not be accepted

The Second Circuit decision is a warning to employers that racism will not be accepted.

The Second US Circuit has recommend reducing a jury award of $25 million to $2.6 million in the case of a racially-abused worker, after the employer appealed both the trial court decision and a federal judge’s amended award of $6 million.

After suffering years of racial abuse at his former place of employment, a federal jury awarded Elijah Turley, a former employee of ArcelorMittal employee in Buffalo, NY, $25 million in damages after the company failed to take action to stop the emotional and mental abuse caused by his co-workers.

The new award of $2.6 million however is not final; it still has to be accepted by Elijah Turley and Chief U.S. District Judge Skretny. Regardless of the award amount, attorney Ryan J. Mills stated, “This decision provides further vindication for Mr. Turley because the court has recognized the aggravated circumstances of this case and the extreme nature of defendant’s misconduct.”

Hostile work environment

Turley brought suit against ArcelorMittal claiming that it allowed a hostile work environment, and alleging that it was responsible for the infliction of emotional distress that Turley suffered.

At trial, Turley offered evidence and recounted the torturous events that took place during his time of employment with the company. Turley explained that his co-worker would write racial slurs on the walls inside of the facility.

  • The company knew and was aware that there was graffiti on the walls inside of the facility that displayed the letters “KKK” (Ku Klux Klan).
  • Turley testified that his co-workers would hang monkeys from his car when it was parked in the company’s parking lot.
  • Company employees would also use the business’s intercom to broadcast monkey sounds and to threaten Turley.
  • Moreover, at trial, a witness testified that over 30 percent of the employee’s referred to Turley as “That (F**king Nigger).”

 

Grievances never addressed

Turley complained to human resources and his supervisors on numerous occasions, however his grievances were never properly addressed.

ArcelorMittal argued that the company took steps to ensure that the atrocious behavior was stopped by suspending employees involved, however, the jury did not find that the company’s efforts were enough.

Two years after the jury awarded Turley $25 million, ArcelorMittal appealed the jury’s damages award. However it did not dispute the “gravity of the underlying conduct,” but it raised several procedural and substantive objections to the court’s findings in regard to liability and its damages award.

The district court rejected most of ArcelorMittal’s claims. The judge refused to disturb the verdict, which found ArcelorMittal responsible for the immense amount of racial harassment that Turley endured during the time that he was employed with the company.

However the court did reconsider the punitive damages award. The court found that the award was “excessive in light of the principles set forth in the prior case law of the Supreme Court and of this Circuit.” Chief United States District Judge William M. Skretny had amended the amount of damages from $25 million to $6 million.

ArcelorMittal appealed again, and the district court recommended reducing the damages to $2.6 million. In a statement, ArcelorMittal expressed the gratitude stating that they were “pleased that the Second Circuit agreed that the punitive damages were excessive.”

The case is Elijah Turley,Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Arcelor–Mittal USA, Inc., Defendant- Appellant, Docket No. 13‐561.