(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this workplace/sex discrimination case and its proceedings.)
IT WAS NOT ERROR TO ALLOW EVIDENCE OF ACTS THAT OCCURRED PRIOR TO JUNE 10, 2004
A. Events from February of 2004 to January of 2005.
For reasons exhaustively explained earlier in this brief, including the continuing violation doctrine, the court correctly overruled the defendant’s Motion in Limine #4, thus permitting the jury to consider actionable events during the period between February of 2004 and January of 2005.
B. Background Evidence from 1999-2002
The court also permitted plaintiff to describe events that occurred between 1999 and 2002 as relevant background information. For this same reason, presumably, the court allowed the City to introduce evidence relating to plaintiff’s 1994 vandalism conviction.
This was a retaliation case where the plaintiff had filed many racial discrimination complaints over the years. The jury would have had great difficulty understanding the case, including assessing whether the City ultimately acted in good faith, without allowing Mr. Carter to describe the cause and severity of his many complaints. The City’s failure to respond to these complaints was also highly relevant to the consideration of whether it ultimately had innocent motivations when it got rid of Mr. Carter. An innocent employer would presumably have thoroughly investigated the complaints and issued findings. An uncaring employer was more likely to have retaliated against Mr. Carter. Moreover, the City claimed that it sent Mr. Carter to a fitness for duty evaluation, in part, because he had filed numerous unfounded discrimination complaints. By allowing plaintiff to present relevant, limited background evidence of his racial discrimination complaints, the jury learned that the City never bothered to investigate Mr. Carter’s complaints, and thus had no basis to conclude that they were unfounded. The evidence was appropriately admitted.
THE COURT CORRECTLY ALLOWED DR. X. TO CALL INTO QUESTION THE FINDINGS OF DR. Z.
Plaintiff contended that the City’s decision to send him to a fitness-for-duty evaluation and then to pursue an involuntary retirement application against him caused him emotional harm. It would have been a manifest injustice to prevent plaintiff from introducing Dr. X.’s testimony on this point. This would effectively have prevented him from putting on a general damages case.
Dr. X. testified that based on his review of the medical records, plaintiffs mental health had improved substantially prior to the City’s decision to send him to the fitness-for-duty evaluation. Dr. X. further opined that as a result of the City’s decision to refer Mr. Carter to a fitness-for-duty evaluation, and the subsequent finding by Dr. Z. that he was unfit, Mr. Carter’ mental health deteriorated into clinical depression and a state of clinical anxiety. That is, the City’s act of sending Mr.Carter to a retaliatory fitness for duty evaluation-not the Retirement Board’s decision to retire him nearly a year later-was the proximate cause of his suffering from a serious mental illness that persists to the present. That opinion is consistent with the jury’s verdict on damages. (See Part 18 of 19.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.