Saturday, 28 October 2017

Delta Slammed by Nevada Jury for Employment Discrimination over HIV

A Nevada Federal Jury on Friday, October 20 rendered a $1.3 million verdict under the Americans with Disabilities Act against Delta Air Lines including $800,000 in punitive damages. 

Delta was found guilty of both failing to accommodate the HIV protected disability of the Plaintiff and terminating Plaintiff on account of his disability. Back pay, front pay and legal fees to be awarded under the Federal Statute have not yet been decided. 

The jury found Delta's actions were knowing and reckless, and awarded punitive damages. The jury took approximately three and a half hours to reach a unanimous verdict after an almost 4 day trial before U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II. Plaintiff was represented by Stone & Woodrow LLP of Charlottesville, Virginia, with Thatcher A. Stone and William T. Woodrow III as lead trial counsel and Nevada State Senator Richard Segerblom. 

Asked for comment, Stone said, "the jury of eight Nevada citizens listened, paid attention, and then made a decision. Plaintiff's team is extremely pleased with the jury and their result." Segerblom said, "the verdict is likely to be the largest verdict for employment discrimination in Nevada history."  Delta was represented by Scott Mahoney of the Las Vegas office of Fisher and Phillips and Kelly Giustina, a Delta lawyer. Stone & Woodrow LLP is a plaintiff's boutique that focuses on civil rights and aviation related personal injury. Thatcher A. Stone is adjunct faculty at the UVA Law School.

Plaintiff was both denied an accommodation provided for by Federal law when he got ill when Delta's medical insurance failed to provide timely medication and was wrongfully terminated for the two days he was ill with a protected absence due to his disability, according to the jury's verdict. Principal witnesses for Delta were Lisa Todd, then an HR specialist with Delta, now an HR specialist at Hamline University in Minnesota, and Kirk Kozy, Lewis' boss at the time in Las Vegas. Principal witnesses for Plaintiff were himself, and Dr. Dino Gonzalez of Las Vegas. 

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