Wal-Mart Compensatory Damages Were Too Punitive, Judge Rules
CENTEREACH, NEW YORK--A federal judge on Monday cut to $900,000 the original disability discrimination award of $7.5 million that a jury ordered Wal-Mart to pay former employee Patrick S. Brady.
Brady, who has cerebral palsy, claimed in his lawsuit that on his second day of work in August 2002 the Centereach Mall Wal-Mart moved him out of the pharmacy and to a job collecting shopping carts and picking up trash -- even though he had two years experience as a pharmacy assistant.
Brady further alleged that he had been reassigned despite the company's policy of giving employees a month to learn to do a new job. When he asked for a schedule, the pharmacist put him off, as did the personnel office. A store manager later told Brady the pharmacist determined he was not fit to do the work, he said.
In February 2005, a federal jury sided with Brady and ordered Wal-Mart to pay him $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
In June 2005, Eastern District Magistrate Judge James Orenstein reduced the $5 million punitive damage award to just $300,000 citing a federal limit on punitive damage awards in the Americans with Disabilities and state laws.
According to the New York Law Journal, last Monday Judge Orenstein submitted a 102-page ruling, in which he reduced the compensatory award to just $600,000, saying the jury's compensatory damage award of $2.5 million might actually have been punitive in nature because it was significantly different from similar awards.
Brady's attorney said his client had not decided yet whether to accept the $900,000 total award.
Compensatory Damages Sliced In Disability Discrimination Case (New York Law Journal)
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