may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
d/b/a Regency Beauty Academy, et al.,
Filed January 28, 1997
Anoka County District Court
File No. C4938937
Donald H. Nichols, Steven A. Smith, Nichols, Kaster & Anderson, 4644 IDS Center, 80 S. Eighth St., Minneapolis., MN 55402 (for Respondent)
Edward M. Glennon, Ansis V. Viksnins, Lindquist & Vennum, P.L.L.P., 4200 IDS Center, 80 S. Eighth St., Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Appellants)
Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.[*]
We review an award of $35,627.60 in front pay to an employee who successfully sued her employer for sex harassment. The record supports the district court's decision. We affirm.
On remand, the district court reduced the award of future damages to $35,627.60, representing future losses for 12 years. This second appeal ensued.
"The calculation of front pay, which is necessarily uncertain, is a matter of equitable relief within the district court's sound discretion." Hukkanen v. International Union of Operating Eng'rs, 3 F.3d 281, 286 (8th Cir. 1993) (citing MacDissi v. Valmont Indus., Inc., 856 F.2d 1054, 1060 (8th Cir. 1988)). Among the factors a court considers in awarding front pay are: the employee's mitigation efforts; the employee's prospects for future employment; the certainty of the employee's income absent the breach; and the length of time for which front pay is sought. Feges v. Perkins Restaurants, Inc., 483 N.W.2d 701, 710 (Minn. 1992).
Appellants continue to argue that Hansen failed to mitigate the effects of her discharge, but the district court found that Hansen conducted a "thorough, extensive job search for nearly a year following her constructive discharge from Regency." The record, which includes a well-documented log of Hansen's search for new employment, supports the district court's findings on the issue of mitigation.
Hansen's experts testified that her prospects for future employment at the salary she earned at Regency were not good. The district court credited the testimony of Hansen's experts on this issue. Due regard must be given to the trial court's credibility determinations. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01; see also Kay v. Peter Motor Co., 483 N.W.2d 481, 483 (Minn. App. 1992) (deference to trial court is particularly strong in employment cases).
We reversed the district court's first award of front pay because Hansen's future income at Regency was uncertain. The district court on remand appropriately reduced Hansen's damages and concluded that the evidence supported a finding that Hansen would suffer a wage reduction for not 36, but rather 12 years, and that she would have continued in her position for that length of time, absent Regency's breach. Appellants argue that the 12-year figure is arbitrary and unsupported by the record. We disagree. Despite the rule that damages that are speculative are not recoverable and although front pay is, by its very nature, somewhat speculative and uncertain, a court may award such damages.
Whether Hansen would have remained in her position for 12 years, or, as appellants argue, zero to three years, is a decision left to the discretion of the district court. The record indicates that the district court carefully considered the factors described in Feges and addressed the concerns expressed in our decision to reverse the first award. The district court's decision that 12 years was the appropriate length of time for front pay was not an abuse of discretion.
[ ]* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, §10.