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Ani Chopourian v. Catholic Healthcare West

April 30, 2012

ANI CHOPOURIAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WEST,
DEFENDANT.



ORDER; JUDGMENT

On April 10, 2012, the court heard argument on the parties' proposals for entry of judgment. Lawrance Bohm and Erika Gaspar appeared for plaintiff; Raymond Cardozo, Paul Fogel, Margaret Grignon and Judith Clark Martin appeared for defendant.

The purpose of this order is limited to entering judgment based on the jury's verdicts. Any post-trial motions, including for a new trial or a challenge to the judgment as excessive, will follow. In addition, the court is not determining costs and fees at this juncture.

I. Background

A. Jury Trial

On February 24, 2012, the jury retired to consider plaintiff's claims for two Title VII violations--hostile work environment and retaliation-- as well as claims for discharge in violation of public policy, discharge in retaliation for complaints about patient safety, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, defamation, and failure to provide meal and rest breaks. ECF Nos. 283, 284 at 17. The court instructed the jury that the amount of damages may be different depending on the claim, but that "plaintiff is only entitled to recover on each loss once, even if it is possible to recover for that loss under two or more claims." ECF No. 284 at 43.

On February 28, 2012, the jury asked about determining economic damages for claims 2 through 5, specifically whether it should apportion the figure for economic loss among the claims or award the same amount for each of the four claims. ECF No. 291. After consulting with the parties, the court replied that plaintiff may recover for economic loss on the retaliation claim in connection with termination of employment, interference with efforts to find and hold new employment and/or denial of privileging at one of defendant's other facilities and also said:

If you identify any economic loss in connection with termination of employment on claim 2, the same amount of economic loss would apply to economic loss for claims three (discharge in violation of public policy) and 4 (discharge in retaliation for complaints about patient safety). If you identify any economic loss in connection with interference with efforts to find and hold new employment and/or denial of privileging at one of defendant's other hospital facilities on claim 2, the same amount of this economic loss would apply to economic loss for claim 5 (intentional interference with prospective economic advantage). With this understanding, you should record the amount of economic loss you find for each claim, if any, and the court will adjust the award at a later time so that plaintiff only gets one award for each loss.

ECF No. 292.

On April 29, 2012, the jury returned the following verdicts for plaintiff: Verdict One--Sexually Hostile Work Environment (Title VII): Non-economic damages: $10,000,000.00 Punitive damages: $31,250,000.00 Verdict Two--Retaliation (Title VII):

Past lost wages for termination: $549,360.00 Future lost wages for termination: $3,181,128.00 Past lost wages for interference with employment/denial of privileges: $549,360.00 Future lost wages for interference with employment/denial of privileges: $3,181,128.00 Non-economic damages: $5,000,000.00 Punitive damages: $6,250,000.00 Verdict Three (Termination In Violation of Public Policy): Past lost wages: $549,360.00 Future lost wages: $3,181,128.00 Non-economic damages: $8,000,000.00 Punitive damages: $31,250,000.00 Verdict Four (Termination In Retaliation For Safety Complaints): Past lost wages: $549,360.00 Future lost wages: $3,181,128.00 Non-economic damages: $2,000,000.00 Punitive Damages: $31,250,000.00 Verdict Five (Intentional Interference With Economic Advantage): Past lost wages: $549,360.00 Future lost wages: $3,181,128.00 Non-economic damages: $8,000,000.00 Punitive Damages: $6,250,000.00 Verdict Six (Defamation):

Damages: $6,000,000.00 Punitive Damages: $18,750,000.00 Verdict Seven (Meal and Rest Breaks): 368 days of work without uninterrupted meal break for which plaintiff was not paid.

200 days of work without rest break for which plaintiff was not paid. ECF No. 294.

B. Arguments Regarding Entry of Judgment

The parties have submitted proposed forms of judgment along with argument supporting their differing resolutions of the questions ...


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