United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
ORDER ON DAMAGES
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court entered a Default Judgment against the Defendant in
this case on March 31, 2017. See Order .
Subsequently the Plaintiffs filed a number of briefs,
affidavits and other evidence regarding their damages.
See [290, 291-298, 301, 302]. The Court reviewed and
considered all of the evidence in the record and awards the
following damages and other relief based on that review.
damages for “future pecuniary losses, emotional pain,
suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment
of life, and other nonpecuniary losses” are available
to prevailing Title VII plaintiffs under 42 U.S.C. §
1981a. Total compensatory and punitive damages available to
each prevailing plaintiff are capped at $50, 000.00 for
claims against employers the size of the Defendant in this
case. See 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(b)(3); Black v.
Pan Am. Labs., L.L.C., 646 F.3d 254, 264 (5th Cir. 2011)
(holding that the plain language of § 1981a(b)'s cap
applies to each party in an action).
is ample evidence in the record to support an award of
compensatory damages for each of the individuals identified
as Plaintiffs in this case. Each of these parties suffered
inconvenience and emotional pain as a result of the openly
discriminatory policies and actions of the Defendant. In some
cases, the Plaintiffs, prospective employees were encouraged
by the Defendant to apply multiple times even though the
Defendant did not intend to hire them. The Defendant openly
taunted and refused interviews to some Plaintiffs, while
others were subjected to irrational and unreasonable
application requirements. Some of the Plaintiffs also
observed the Defendant throwing employment applications from
African Americans into the trash can immediately after they
were submitted. In addition to their depositions, and the
substantial summary judgment record in this case, each of the
Plaintiffs submitted affidavits detailing the nature,
surrounding circumstances, and scope of their damages. The
Defendant did not offer any opposition or raise any defenses.
on all of the information in the record, and looking at all
of the circumstances of this case, the Court awards the
following compensatory damages as requested by the
Plaintiffs: Banks - $10, 000; Boyd - $12, 000; Farmer - $15,
000; Kemp $25, 000; Wilder - $10, 000; Wiley -$12, 000;
Johnson-Hampton - $10, 000; Gregory - $10, 000; Simpson -
$10, 000; Allen - $10, 000; Clay - $10, 000; Cooper - $10,
000; Holmes - $10, 000; Peeler - $10, 000. The total
compensatory damages award is $164, 000.
Plaintiffs in this case also request that the Court award
back pay. “Back pay under Title VII is an equitable, or
‘make whole, ' remedy. Overman v. City of E.
Baton Rouge, 656 F. App'x 664, 671 (5th Cir. 2016)
(citing Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405,
419, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975). “As such,
its purpose is to place the plaintiff in the position that
she would have been in but for the defendant's illegal
conduct.” Id. Again, based on all of the
evidence in the record, the Court awards the following
damages for back pay: Banks - $4, 158.87; Boyd - $2, 231.77;
Farmer - $4, 933.92; Kemp - $16, 870.59; Wiley - $2,
115.16; Johnson-Hampton - $33, 807.40; Gregory - $18, 639.06;
Simpson - $34, 879.50; Allen -$15, 737.71; Clay - $28,
532.22; Cooper - $76, 081.81; Holmes - $53, 733.81; Peeler -
$16, 919.77. The total back pay award is $308, 641.59.
Plaintiffs in this case also request that the Court award
punitive damages. Title 42 U.S.C. § 1981a states in
relevant part, “A complaining party may recover
punitive damages under this section against a respondent [. .
.] if the complaining party demonstrates that the respondent
engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory
practices with malice or with reckless indifference to the
federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual.”
42 U.S.C. § 1981a(b)(1). “The terms
‘malice' or ‘reckless indifference'
pertain to the employer's knowledge that it may be acting
in violation of federal law, not its awareness that it is
engaging in discrimination.” Henry v. CorpCar
Servs. Houston, Ltd., 625 F. App'x 607, 614 (5th
Cir.), reh'g denied (Mar. 5, 2015), cert.
denied, 136 S.Ct. 104, 193 L.Ed.2d 36 (2015) (quoting
Kolstad v. Am. Dental Ass'n, 527 U.S. 526, 535,
119 S.Ct. 2118, 144 L.Ed.2d 494 (1999)).
instant case, there is ample evidence that Stone Pony
intentionally discriminated against African American
employees and applicants in addition to intentionally
maintaining a segregated workforce with minority employees
relegated to back of house jobs and white employees
exclusively staffing the front of house positions. There is
also ample evidence, in both corporate deposition testimony
and Stone Pony corporate documents, that Stone Pony
management was fully aware of the relevant federal
antidiscrimination statutes and policies and knowingly
violated them. This is exactly the type of invidious
discrimination these Civil Rights statutes were implemented
to prevent. For all of these reasons, the Court awards
punitive damages in this case in the amount of $25, 000 per
Plaintiff for a total punitive damages award of $350, 000.00.
the Commission seeks injunctive relief against Stone Pony as
authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 when an employer
“has intentionally engaged in or is intentionally
engaging in an unlawful employment practice.” 42
U.S.C.A. § 2000e-5(g)(1). Specifically, the Commission
requests that Stone Pony be enjoined from engaging in racial
discrimination against African American job applicants,
maintaining a segregated workforce on the basis of race, and
discarding personnel or employment records, including
employment applications, resumes and any other documents
submitted by job applicants, for a period of one year. The
Court finds ...