Wal-Mart Compensatory Damages Were Too Punitive, Judge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 4, 2006
CENTEREACH, NEW YORK--A federal judge on Monday cut to $900,000 the 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 said that he was 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 ordered Wal-Mart to pay $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages to the 21-year-old Brady. 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, Judge Orenstein submitted a 102-page ruling Monday, in which he reduced the compensatory award to $600,000, saying the jury's compensatory damage award of $2.5 million was significantly different from similar awards, and might actually have been punitive in nature.
Brady's attorney said his client has not decided whether to accept or challenge the $900,000 total award.
"Compensatory Damages Sliced In Disability Discrimination Case" (New York Law Journal)