A California federal judge ordered the former to pay $3.2 million
The verdict was reached earlier this week in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, setting the stage for a post-judgment battle over the award, 98% less than the “erratic” $137 million awarded by a different judge, Owen Diaz, over two years. Aug.
Diaz, who is black, sought a retrial for damages after a trial judge in April 2022 reduced the initial award because it was excessive and out of sync with what the documents in the case and Supreme Court rulings allowed. The judge originally ordered $6.9 million in compensatory damages to be paid out for the emotional distress of $1.5 million and $130 million in punitive damages of $13.5 million.
The Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in State firm v. Campbell they held that the punitive damages awarded should have a ratio of one digit to the compensatory damages. Punitive damages, which are more than 10 times compensatory damages, would violate due diligence requirements, he said.
But the jury returned Diaz with $175,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. Labor lawyers said the latest decision is once again calling for legal scrutiny that is out of line State Farm. A rule on this subject could potentially offer more clarity on the rule for awarding punitive damages, some said.
“There are constitutional limits to how much a punitive award can be multiple compensatory damages,” he said Anthony J. Oncidi, co-chair of Proskauer Rose LLP’s labor and employment law department. “I am now saying that there is still a greater reduction that should be done either by trial or by appeal.
Oncidi noted that punitive damages awarded this week were 17 times the amount for compensatory damages.
Eric Amdurskyco-chair of O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s labor & employment practice group, agrees that the ratio between the two damages may fall within the limits set forth by the Supreme Court. State Farm.
The decision that Diaz won in 2021 was among the highest ever for an undisclosed in the US. When the judge reduced the verdict, he kept the ratio nine to one, $1.5 million for compensatory damages and $13.5 million for punitive damages.
“I suspect he will do the same here,” Amdursky said.
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Diaz is suing under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1866, also known as Section 1981, saying he suffered widespread use of the N-word and other racist actions by co-workers at the carmaker’s electric plant in Fremont, Calif. Section 1981 provides remedies for individuals subject to harassment and discrimination, but does not have a statutory cap for monetary damages.
But the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2003 Zhang v. American Gem Seafoods Inc. held that the $300,000 statutory limit on punitive damages in Title VII cases was the appropriate test for reviewing awards of damages in a suit under § 1981.
If Diaz’s case goes to the Ninth Circuit, it could change how the trial court evaluates the standard governing punitive damages, he said. nem cheung of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP.
State Farm nor did it explicitly state that the assessment of punitive damages should “never” exceed a single-digit ratio, “nor does it specify when or how much you can exceed a single-digit ratio,” Cheung said.
“The legal question is closed,” he added. “What has been seen over the years is that the courts have been reluctant to design a particular system or provide more clarity in this regard.”
But Oncidi said State Farm it is now clear. The real “problem” is that jurors were not instructed about the constitutional limitations that govern punitive damages, he argues.
“Everyone in the courtroom, including lawyers on both sides and judges, knows about these constitutional limitations.” The jury, which is the most serious in the decision-making room, is asked to base a large amount of punitive damages on the relatively small compensatory damages that are the result of a whack on the part of the constitution, “Oncidi said, adding that the Supreme Court orders do not write judges, as the State Bar of California, and both the plaintiff and the defense can reach an agreement on this matter.
That’s hard to say.
The plaintiff “has much more to do with reason that far exceeds the limits of the constitution.” The hand is firm,” said the appeal and in the seats.
In the meantime, the defense “does not want to put any reason in the minds of the judges, lest they think differently”, Oncidi added. “But I think it becomes too dark” and the jurors “what the law deserves to be said about this matter.”
beware of renters
Despite the huge reduction in losses, “$3.4 million is still a big win for someone who worked for Tesla for nine months,” Amdursky said.
The case is yet another wake-up call for Tesla and other employers to properly investigate and crack down on discriminatory behavior in the workplace, legal observers said.
Elon Musk’s company has faced years of complaints from black workers that factory managers ignored the use of assembly lines and graffiti with swastikas and other hateful symbols in common areas and were slow to clean up.
“The headlines will send a big message to owners that this could have serious ramifications,” Amdursky said.
Both rights found that Tesla’s act was “reprehensible” and that it should not have happened, he noted. “It certainly sent a message that the incident was not condoned.”
We live in schwarzpartner of Outten & Aureum LLP, said that work should also be “careful about not obscuring what might appear to managers, human resources, and researchers as trivial matters.”
But the council did this for Tesla, which Diaz said in the second trial of the jurisdiction.
The plaintiff’s credibility was wrongly attacked by the defense to undermine the jury’s perception of him, attorney Diaz. J Bernardus Alexander Alexander Morrison & Fehr LLP said earlier this week through a representative. The attorney filed a request last week for a new trial, citing “injustice” by the Tesla team.
“We will settle the dust and get the judge’s verdicts on the criminal defense, while we set the next steps,” he said.
Tesla’s attorney Alex Spiros of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP declined to comment.