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Appeal jury’s out-of-the-blue verdict against you

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Sometimes a case that looks like it will end in a win for the employer ends in a surprise adverse jury verdict. Before you despair, remember that it’s not over. There may be room for a reversal.

Recent case: When Mindy sued her former employer for sexual harassment, the only evidence corroborated by other witnesses was a single offensive comment.

But at closing argument, Mindy’s attorney told a sad story of how she, too, had been sexually harassed in law school but had lacked Mindy’s “courage” to complain. She went on to urge the jury to reward this courage. It did, with a $900,000 award.

The employer’s lawyers immediately appealed, arguing that the closing argument was prejudicial and improper. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the verdict. (Gilster v. Primebank, et al., No. 12-3064, 8th Cir., 2014)

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