Magazine article HRMagazine

Attorney Fees Award Far Greater Than Damages Upheld

Magazine article HRMagazine

Attorney Fees Award Far Greater Than Damages Upheld

Article excerpt

Muniz v. United Parcel Service Inc., 9th Cir., No. 11-17282.

The trial court properly awarded almost $700,000 in attorney fees even though the jury awarded the employee only $27,280 in damages on a single successful gender discrimination claim, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

After years of employment with UPS, Kim Muniz had been promoted to division manager but was later demoted two levels to a supervisor position. She claimed that a male manager convinced her female district manager to downgrade her role. UPS countered that she had been promoted beyond her level of competence and that the male manager was simply the first to recognize her performance deficiencies.

Muniz filed suit, alleging that UPS's decision was improperly motivated by her gender and age and that the delivery service retaliated against her. The trial court dismissed the claims for age discrimination, retaliation and punitive damages before trial. Muniz also dropped her state law claims for negligent supervision and training before trial. …

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