Defined in our textbook, Business Law (Text and Cases, Twelfth Edition) as “. . . money or damages that may be awarded to a plaintiff to punish the defendant and deter future similar conducts,” (Miller & Cross 2013) punitive damages amounting to $185 million are awarded recently by the federal jury to Rosario Juarez, forty-three years old of San Diego, California and on the grounds of discrimination against her former employer, retailer AutoZone.
Juarez was employed by AutoZone in 2000. She was promoted in 2001 as parts sales manager. Noticing that were only 10 females holding non-store managerial positions in 98 outlets of the defendant–but not as store managers: She alleged that the AutoZone was discriminating and practicing glass ceiling.
Furthermore, Juarez believed that although the company promoted her as store manager in 2004, the discrimination continued–as her district manager repeatedly asked her to resign in 2005. Apparently, the latter stressed the possibility of her being unable to handle the demands of work, as she was pregnant. In 2007, although still employed, she filed discrimination complaints before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Few months after, AutoZone terminated Juarez.
Regardless, Inside Counsel Breaking News correspondent, Juliana Kenny writes:
A federal court jury ruled that the discrimination, retaliation, and harassment
against Juarez had been “severe and pervasive,” unanimously finding that she
had been discriminated against and fired because of her pregnancy, and the
verdict in favor of Juarez included an award of $250,000 for emotional distress,
as well as a $185 million judgment in punitive damages against AutoZone.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination on the base of color, gender, race, age, disability (American Disability Act), and religion.
Finally, what I find ludicrous in this case, the defense counsels representing AutoZone are reportedly negotiating for $1 M instead of $185 M of punitive damages and on top the $872,000 compensatory damages. I am not sure what calculators those esquires are using; and where they base their “out-of-the blue” calculations. Shouldn’t it be clear, punitive damages come into two-folds; “to punish the defendant and deter future similar conducts” of willful or reckless wrongdoings? I don’t get it. Wrong! The “low-lows” don’t get it.
Kenny, Juliana. (2015). Landmark Sum of Punitive Damages in Gender Discrimination Case to Settle Soon. Inside Counsel Breaking News, Inside Counsel Breaking News, March 17, 2015.
Miller, Roger LeRoy & Frank B. Cross. (2013). Business Law, Alternate Twelfth Edition. Retrieved from https://platformvirdocs.com.pdf
Stoneburner, Christina. (2014, November 19). $185 Million Punitive Damages Against AutoZone: How Did They Get There? Mondaq Business Briefing, p. Mondaq Business Briefing, Nov 19, 2014.