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Title VII Suit Against Nursing Home for Sexual Harassment By Residents

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By FindLaw Staff on June 25, 2010 3:50 PM

Also, Criminal and Class Action Matters

US v. Womack, No. 09-2488, concerned a challenge to the district court's application of the career offender enhancement in imposing a sentence of 360 months in a conviction of defendant for distributing cocaine base.  In vacating the sentence and remanding, the court held that, although the district court did not err by applying the career offender enhancement in defendant's guidelines calculation and the sentence imposed was within a correctly calculated guidelines range, the district court erred in stating that it could not consider the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses under the guidelines because district court's may disagree with the career offender enhancement on policy grounds related to the crack/powder disparity and impose sentences accordingly.   

Pickett v. Sheridan Health Care Ctr., No. 09-3028, concerned a plaintiff's Title VII suit against her former employer for being fired in retaliation for her complaints about sexual harassment by residents of the defendant's nursing home.  In affirming the district court's denial of defendant's motions for a new trial and remittitur, the court held that plaintiff presented enough evidence to persuade a reasonable jury that her complaints caused defendant to fire her.  The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for a new trial on the basis of plaintiff's counsel's closing arguments, nor was it an abuse of discretion in denying remittitur on the compensatory damages as enough evidence supported a jury award of $25,000, which is well within the $200,000 cap set out in 42 U.S.C. section 1981a(b)(3)(C).  Lastly, the court held that it was not an abuse of discretion in denying remittitur on the punitive damage award and the logic of Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 128 S. Ct. 2605 (2008) does not apply to this Title VII case.    

Lincoln Nat'l Life Ins., Co. v. Bezich, No. 10-8013, concerned a petition for permission to appeal, arising from the district court's remand of plaintiff's class action lawsuit against the insurer for breach of contract claims on the basis that CAFA's exception to federal jurisdiction for the action applied.  In dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction, the court held that the plaintiff's claim "related to the rights, duties,...and obligations relating to or created by or pursuant to...a security," as defined in the Securities Act of 1933. 

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