|Jury Verdict for Harassment Victim to Be Overturned if Supporting Evidence Absent|
|Description||Appeals court held that a trial judge was wrong to set aside a jury’s verdict of $242,000 damages in a sexual harassment case and instead grant $10,000 in damages. A verdict is to be overturned only if there was no evidence to support the verdict or the amount shocks the conscience of the court.|
|Key Words||Sexual Harassment; Retaliation; Damages|
|C A S E S U M M A R Y|
|Facts||Eich worked for Central Missouri State University’s (CMSU) police department. She sued, claiming that she suffered a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment by two co-workers and that SMSU unlawfully retaliated against her for complaining about the harassment. A jury found in her favor on the harassment claim and awarded $200,000 in non-economic damages and $42,272 in economic damages. They also found in her favor on the retaliation claim, but awarded no damages. The judge set aside the judgment and awarded Eich $10,000 damages. She appealed.|
Reversed. The matter was properly heard by the jury; its determination should stand. Eich presented substantial evidence of improper sexual touching, acts, and innuendo that continued over a period of years. A verdict is to be overturned only when there is a complete absence of probative facts to support the conclusion reached. The measure of damages by the jury was not excessive given the employee’s testimony. A district court should reduce damages only when the verdict is so grossly excessive as to shock the conscience of the court.
|Citation||Board of Regents for Central Missouri State Univ. v. Eich, 350 F.3d 752 (8th Cir., 2004)|
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