• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Know when to settle! Even small jury awards can lead to huge attorneys’ fees

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Need a way to sell a possible lawsuit settlement to managers? Try explaining that even a small jury award can mean having to pay huge attorneys’ fees on the employee’s side, in addition to the company’s own legal costs.

Recent case: Paula Newberry, now 57 years old, worked for the Burlington Basket Company, a family-owned and -operated wicker product manufacturer. When the company patriarch retired, a younger family member took over.

Then business took a turn for the worse and the new boss claimed he needed to contain costs. He fired Newberry to reduce the payroll, but kept three other employees who were considerably younger.

Newberry sued, alleging age discrimination.

A jury awarded her just $25,000 in damages. But then the judge ordered the company to pay Newberry’s attorneys. The tab: more than $140,000.

The company appealed, but the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reduce the amount. While acknowledging that the jury didn’t award Newberry anything near what she had asked, it still said her attorneys should be paid for their success. More than five times damages was not unreasonable. (Newberry v. Burlington Basket Company, No. 09-3082, 8th Cir., 2010)

Final note: Family-owned businesses sometimes think they don’t have to follow the same rules as other companies. That’s not true. Size is what matters—companies that employ enough employees to be covered by various laws have to comply.

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/12706/know-when-to-settle-even-small-jury-awards-can-lead-to-huge-attorneys-fees "

Leave a Comment