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SHEPHERD v. ABC

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


June 13, 1994

MICHELE E. SHEPHERD, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
AMERICAN BROADCASTING COMPANIES, INC., et al., Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROYCE C. LAMBERTH

MEMORANDUM OPINION IN SUPPORT OF FINAL JUDGMENT

 This case comes before the court on plaintiffs' original and final proposed orders for relief and defendant's oppositions to both, and other responsive documents. Upon consideration of the proposed orders, the oppositions, and the entire record in this case, this court shall order that defendant ABC shall pay plaintiff Shepherd $ 125,000.00 in damages, shall pay plaintiff Graves $ 184,293.33 in damages, and shall desist from the discriminatory conduct against plaintiff Shepherd that was described in the complaint.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Michele Shepherd is a black woman who works as a staff artist at the American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.'s ("ABC") Washington, D.C. News Bureau. Her co-plaintiff, LaRue Graves, is a black male who was fired from his position as a freelance graphic arts designer at the ABC Washington News Bureau Graphics Department in 1985. Together they brought this action for racial and sexual workplace discrimination under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, 2 D.C.C. §§ 1-2501 et seq. (1981) ("DCHRA"). They sued the American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.; Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.; their immediate supervisor Kenneth Dyball; and ABC Washington bureau chief George Watson.

 On April 15, 1992, this court granted plaintiffs a default judgment as a sanction against defendant's discovery misconduct. (Upon reconsideration in a memorandum opinion of September 3, 1993, this court modified certain elements of that holding, but the default judgment stands.) The sole issue now before the court is the size of plaintiffs' damage award.

 Shepherd and Graves both seek damages against all defendants, but for reasons described below (see infra Section II), they may only collect damages from defendant ABC. Plaintiffs have several claims against ABC: for compensation for emotional injury caused by defendant's discrimination, for harms caused by defendant's allegedly unlawful retaliation, for punitive damages, for injunctive relief, and for attorney's fees and costs. Each claim is analyzed in turn below.

 II. DEFENDANTS DYBALL, WATSON, and CAPITAL CITIES

 A. Dyball and Watson

 Plaintiffs' claims against defendants Dyball and Watson shall be dismissed for plaintiffs' failure to prosecute. The default judgments against both Dyball and Watson were vacated upon reconsideration in September, 1993. *fn1" Since then, plaintiffs have done nothing to prosecute their claims against these two defendants -- other than to improperly claim damages from them in their final proposed order for relief, filed several months after the vacating order. *fn2" Perhaps plaintiffs abandoned their claims against these two defendants because they feared that a jury -- reviewing plaintiffs' allegations and Dyball's and Watson's defenses -- might differ with the default judgment's determination that as a matter of law almost everything that plaintiffs have alleged is true. In any event, by failing to prosecute for over nine months after their default judgments were vacated, plaintiffs have clearly abandoned their claims against defendants Dyball and Watson.

 This dismissal as to defendants Dyball and Watson is without prejudice only if the default judgment against ABC is set aside. In that case alone may plaintiffs reinstate their claims against defendants Dyball and Watson. Otherwise, they may not. Accordingly, defendants Dyball and Watson shall not be held liable for any damages or injunctive relief in the order accompanying this memorandum opinion.

 B. Capital Cities

 The damages claims against defendant Capital Cities must be dismissed because Capital Cities is merely a shareholder of the corporate successor to defendant ABC. *fn3" A party seeking to claim damages from a shareholder for the wrongful acts of a corporation has the burden of showing "unity of interest and ownership." Vuitch v. Furr, 482 A.2d 811, 816 (D.C.App. 1984) (Rogers, J.). There is no precise test for determining whether a claimant has met this burden, but plaintiffs in this case -- who have presented no evidence at all on this point -- certainly have not. Accordingly, Capital Cities shall not be held liable for any damages in the order accompanying this memorandum opinion.

 III. DEFENDANT ABC

 Although a default judgment forces a defendant to concede liability, it does not force it to concede liability for the amount of damages that a plaintiff has claimed. See 10 Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2688 at 450 (1983). The task now before this court is ascertaining the amount of damages plaintiffs are due from the sole remaining defendant, ABC.

 This task can be performed without an evidentiary hearing. Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "if, in order to enable the court to enter judgment or to carry it into effect, it is necessary to take an account or to determine the amount of damages, . . . the court may conduct such hearings or order such references as it deems necessary and proper and shall accord a right of trial by jury to the parties when and as required by any statute of the United States." *fn4" In this case, this court may resolve the damages claims on the papers alone, without wasting the judicial resources required of holding a live hearing on the issue. The record in this case is extremely thorough and contains volumes of detailed deposition testimony. The parties have painstakingly combed this testimony for relevant facts and have presented them well in memoranda for the court. Significantly, few of the issues resolved below hinge on witness credibility such that judging demeanor in live testimony would be a necessary adjunct to the sworn written testimony already before the court. The court is intimately familiar with the facts of this case, having presided over it since 1988. All of this makes the complete record a suitable substitute for live testimony and makes it possible for damages to be ascertained without the added litigation costs of a live hearing.

 A. Compensatory Damages

 By virtue of the default judgment against ABC, ABC is held to have violated the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Concededly, the default judgment, which rendered judgment for plaintiffs because of defendant's misconduct in discovery, did not expressly rule on any of the allegations of discrimination underlying plaintiffs' damage claims. Nevertheless, "so long as the facts as painted by the complaint 'might. . . have been the case' they may not now be successfully controverted." *fn5" After default, allegations will be taken as true if they are "well-pleaded," that is, if they are not made "indefinite or erroneous by other allegations in the same complaint," not contradicted by "'indisputable facts' . . . which could not possibly be rebutted if the non-defaulting party were permitted a trial," not contrary to uncontested facts in the record, and provable by legitimate evidence. Hughes, 449 F.2d 51, 63.

 Plaintiffs' complaint states well-pleaded allegations of racial discrimination against Graves (Complaint at PP 27-41) and racial and sexual discrimination against Shepherd (Complaint at PP 9-25). The discrimination allegations are, of course, hotly disputed by defendant, but the time for such disputes is past. "There was a time for that and [the defaulted party] cannot elect to default and then defend on the merits. It cannot have its cake and eat it too." Hughes, 449 F.2d at 63-64.

 As victims of employment discrimination, plaintiffs are entitled under the D.C. Human Rights Act to "compensatory damages and other such remedies as may be appropriate," *fn6" which may include, among other things, backpay and reinstatement. *fn7" The court turns now to each plaintiffs' compensatory damages claims.

 1. Shepherd's Compensatory Damages Claim

 Shepherd claims $ 1,000,000 in compensatory damages for defendant's discrimination against her. *fn8" Her claim rests on her contention that defendant's racial and sexual discrimination caused her to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"). As discussed below, her PTSD claim is so implausible that as a matter of law it must be denied. Nevertheless, she is entitled to a more modest award for the mental distress that she clearly did suffer.

 a. PTSD

 PTSD claims may be denied as a matter of law if the underlying allegations, even if taken as true, simply could not have induced the trauma necessary to trigger PTSD. *fn9" Because Shepherd's claims do not rise to the trauma-inducing level, her PTSD claim must be denied.

 The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d rev. ed.) ("DSM-III-R") *fn10" defines PTSD as follows: *fn11"

 

The essential feature of this disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience (i.e., outside the range of such common experiences as simple bereavement, chronic illness, business losses, and marital conflict). The stressor producing this syndrome would be markedly distressing to almost anyone, and is usually experienced with intense fear, terror, and helplessness. . . .

 

The most common traumata involve either a serious threat to one's life or physical integrity; serious threat or harm to one's children, spouse, or other close relatives and friends; sudden destruction of one's home or community; or seeing another person who has recently been, or is being, seriously injured or killed as the result of an accident or physical violence. In some cases the trauma may be learning about a serious threat or harm to a close friend or relative, e.g., that one's child has been kidnapped, tortured, or killed.

 

The trauma may be experienced alone (e.g., rape or assault) or in the company of groups of people (e.g., military combat). Stressors producing this disorder include natural disasters (e.g., floods, earthquakes), accidental disasters (e.g., car accidents with serious physical injury, airplane crashes, large fires, collapse of physical structures), or deliberately caused disasters (e.g., bombing, torture, death camps). Some stressors frequently produce the disorder (e.g., torture) and others produce it only occasionally (e.g., natural disasters or car accidents).

 Shepherd's traumata are simply not severe enough to meet this standard. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Hamlin, testified that the traumata in her case included some physical stressors -- including the explosive, drunken behavior of Dyball, her supervisor; his cursing; his tearing or burning of her work or his talking loudly in her face -- and some non-physical stressors -- including Dyball's giving others credit for her work, and his giving her the silent treatment. (Shepherd Aff. at P 25 (quoting Hamlin Depo. at 155) (Ex. A to Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief).) Shepherd herself attributes her PTSD to Dyball's practice of permitting and making racist and sexist jokes, cartoons, and remarks; the onerous schedule and inadequate facilities she had to work with; and the facts that she was forced to witness the burning of her work, endure unfounded criticism of her work, and undergo remedial training designed to humiliate her. (Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief at 10.) All these and other stressors created a "hostile, intimidating and discriminatory work environment" that triggered her PTSD. (Shep. Aff at P 13 (Ex.1 to Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief).)

 Even if all of these allegations are taken as true, Shepherd could not have suffered PTSD. None of her claimed traumata are the sort of "psychologically distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience" that trigger PTSD. (DSM-III-R at § 309-89.) They did not trigger anything like the "intense fear, terror, and helplessness" associated with PTSD. Serious threats to life or limb like kidnapping, torture or murder may trigger PTSD. Ugly and inexcusable sexist and racist jokes and insults -- although deplorable (and, in this case, actionable and compensable) -- generally do not trigger PTSD. Shepherd has made no special showing that her case is exceptional.

 Further, the facts that she has since functioned well in her job under the very people she claims traumatized her and that she never sought psychiatric help *fn12" also mitigate against a finding of PTSD in her case. In sum, Shepherd need not have been traumatized to show racial or sexual discrimination under District of Columbia law, *fn13" but she must have been traumatized to show that she suffers post-traumatic stress. Accordingly, Shepherd's PTSD claim shall denied as a matter of law.

 b. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

 Although Shepherd cannot show that defendant's discrimination traumatized her, she can show that defendant's acts intentionally caused her severe emotional distress. In order to make this showing, she must demonstrate that (1) defendant's extreme and outrageous conduct (2) intentionally or recklessly (3) caused her severe emotional distress. See, e.g., Abourezk v. New York Airline, Inc., 705 F. Supp. 656, 665 (D.D.C. 1989), aff'd, 283 U.S. App. D.C. 34, 895 F.2d 1456 (D.C. Cir. 1990); Green v. ABC, 647 F. Supp. 1359, 1362 (D.D.C. 1986). Of course, "mere employee-employer conflicts, even those marked by charges of sexual harassment, are not necessarily characterized by the degree of serious misconduct that gives rise to" the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Green, 647 F. Supp. at 1362. "But a pattern of harassment that violates public policy may, if serious enough to constitute 'extreme and outrageous conduct,' rise to intentional infliction of emotional distress by an employer." Id. at 1362-63.

 The timely and well-pleaded allegations *fn14" stated in Shepherd's complaint establish all three elements of her claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Complaint at PP 70, 75.) Such allegations are not undermined by any of her other allegations, nor by evidence of which the court takes judicial note, or by any uncontested facts in the record. At best, her allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress are contested vigorously by defendant, but after default such disputes are irrelevant to the calculation of damages.

 The evidence of her emotional pain, outlined above, establishes the degree of harm caused by defendant's intentional infliction of emotional distress. Although Shepherd could not reasonably have suffered PTSD from defendant's actions, the court can easily see that her well-pleaded allegations -- for example, that unlike less senior non-black males in the division, Dyball gave her inadequate and inferior workspace; that he diverted prestigious and important projects away from females in his division; that he treated her more coldly and rudely than non-black males in the division; that he gave her written warnings for poor performance when non-black males who performed poorly never received such warnings; that he accused her in public of failing to work her hours and that he gave others credit for her work; that he refused her overtime compensation that he gave to non-black males; that he tore up and burned her work and wrote childish, sarcastic and derogatory comments on it and forced her to take humiliating remedial training (Complaint at PP 14-21) -- caused her serious emotional distress.

 For the mental distress that she clearly did suffer, Shepherd shall be awarded $ 75,000. Shepherd's proposed orders for relief claim $ 1,000,000 in compensatory damages from ABC for intentional infliction of emotional distress, yet without citing any precedent indicating whether this an appropriate award. Defendant, by contrast, has offered this court extensive research which indicates that the range of awards for racial and sexual discrimination on the job is generally between $ 10,000 and $ 50,000. *fn15" This court's independent research shows that emotional distress awards for plaintiffs who have suffered employment discrimination -- but who have not lost their jobs because of it -- run the full gamut from $ 2,500 *fn16" to $ 100,000, *fn17" with a variety of awards from $ 5,000 and $ 20,000 in between. *fn18" Shepherd is entitled to an award at the upper end of this range. The public accusations that she endured, her embarrassment at receiving inferior workspace and unimportant work because she was a woman, the humiliating remedial training she was forced to take, and the many other insults she suffered at her job all injured her emotionally and entitle her to a substantial amount to make her whole. The amount this court shall award Shepherd -- $ 75,000 -- is at the upper end of the award range, but it is not at all unprecedented. *fn19"

 2. Graves's Compensatory Damages Claims

 Graves has two classes of compensatory damages claims: one for PTSD or intentional infliction of emotional distress, *fn20" and one for backpay and reinstatement to his job at ABC. The first of these two claims is based largely on the same incredible evidence of PTSD that Shepherd attempted to use. It fails for the same reasons here. Nevertheless, Graves's evidence does support the more modest award of $ 100,000 for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. His second claim -- for backpay -- shall be granted in part, and his claim for reinstatement shall be denied.

  a. PTSD and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

 Graves's claim that he suffers from PTSD *fn21" is as incredible as Shepherd's claim. Graves's psychologist, Dr. J. Theodore Brown, Jr., does not assert that Graves suffers from PTSD. (Brown Decl. (Ex. D to Pl.'s Final Proposed Order for Relief).) Because the evidence of Graves's own psychologist does not establish even a prima facie case for his PTSD claim, the claim shall be dismissed as a matter of law.

 Yet Dr. Brown's testimony does establish that defendant's racism caused Graves other emotional harms. To recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress, Graves -- like Shepherd -- must show that (1) defendant's extreme and outrageous conduct (2) intentionally or recklessly (3) caused him severe emotional distress. See, e.g., Abourezk, 705 F. Supp. at 665. His well-pleaded allegations satisfy all three elements of his claim. *fn22" None of these allegations are undermined by any other of the complaint's allegations, nor by evidence of which the court takes judicial note, or by any uncontested facts in the record. Of course, his allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress are contested vigorously by defendant, but after default it is too late for such disputes on the merits.

 The evidence that Graves submitted in the damages stage of this litigation permits this court to determine the degree of his emotional harm and to fix an award accordingly. His psychiatrist Dr. Brown found that "after losing the position at ABC Mr. Graves also lost his hair, appetite, interest in sex, interest in eating, ability to get a good night's sleep, professional enthusiasm and motivation, sense of humor, optimistic attitude, fiancee, sense of independence, confidence, etc. desire to socialize. . . . It is requiring almost all his emotional energy to be able to function in daily activity of living. . . . All indications are that Mr. Graves was adversely affected by his termination from ABC and remains so [affected] at this time." (Brown Decl. at 4 (Ex. D to Pls.' Final Proposed Order for Relief).) The competing testimony of defendant's psychiatrist, Dr. Blank, does not entirely refute Graves's claim. *fn23" Dr. Blank found that although being fired from ABC did not trigger any "psychiatric pathology," it did cause the "normal grief and anger following a significant loss." (Blank Decl. at 8 (Ex. 14 to Def.'s Reply to Pls.' Final Proposed Order for Relief).)

 For this emotional suffering, Graves is entitled to compensation. Awards of non-pecuniary compensatory damages for plaintiffs who have lost their jobs as a result of employment discrimination tend to vary from $ 500 to $ 52,600 according to defendant, *fn24" and go as high as $ 123,000, according to this court's independent research. *fn25" For the grief and anger that Graves suffered by losing his job because of racial discrimination, Graves shall be granted an award of compensatory damages that is safely within the range: $ 100,000.

 b. Backpay and Reinstatement

 Graves seeks an award of backpay from November 1985, the date he was fired, to the present. He asserts that from November 19, 1985 to December 31, 1993, he lost $ 274,834.52 in earnings. *fn26" He seeks that amount less the approximately $ 25,000 that he has earned in various jobs since ABC fired him.

 i. Amount of Lost Income

 ABC argues that even if it had not fired Graves, he would have lost his job five months later anyway in an across-the-board layoff of freelance graphic artists at ABC's Washington News Bureau, and that Graves is accordingly entitled only to the income he would have earned from the date he was fired until the date of the general layoff, in April 1986. See, e.g., Bartek v. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, 882 F.2d 739, 746-47 (3d Cir. 1989). Yet ABC rehired several of those it laid off, and as an artist who (he believes) would likely have been rehired absent defendant's racism, Graves argues that he is entitled to backpay accruing from the layoff to the present.

 Defendant, who has the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that Graves would not have been rehired, *fn27" concedes that since the April 1986 layoff, it has rehired freelance graphic artists for occasional, part-time work. (Def.'s Opp'n to Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief at 40 n.72.) According to Graves, ABC rehired two of the freelance workers who were laid off, and ABC has hired at least ten artists (some freelance and some permanent) since April 1986. (Pls.' Final Proposed Order at 34.)

 Yet Graves used to be a full-time freelance graphic artist, and none of the rehiring has restored that position. Since the April 1986 layoff, ABC has hired only occasional part-time freelance graphic artists, not full-time freelance graphic artists. (Dyball Decl. at P 5 (Ex. 18 to Def.'s Reply to Pls.' Final Proposed Order for Relief)). *fn28" Defendants have not re-hired anyone to do the same job that Graves lost five months before the general layoff.

 Graves argues in the alternative that had ABC not fired him in November 1985, he would likely have been promoted into a staff position that survived the April 1986 layoff. According to Graves, free lancers like him were typically recruited into staff positions after a year of employment. Graves was fired after nine months at work, just when he expected that the quality of his work -- "which was apparently satisfactory to my employer since my work was being utilized on national television programs" -- would earn him a promotion to a staff position. (Graves Decl. at P 14 (Ex. E to Pls.' Final Proposed Order for Relief).) Only freelancers, not staffers, were subject to the April 1986 layoff.

 However, promotions at ABC were awarded only if "(1) a staff position had become vacant, either because a staff graphic artist had resigned or had been dismissed, or because ABC had authorized an expansion of the number of staff graphic artist positions in the Washington News Bureau's Graphics Department, and (2) the freelance graphic artist in question was the most qualified candidate for that staff position." (Dyball Decl. at P 2 (Ex. 18 to Def.'s Reply to Pls.' Final Proposed Order).) Between Graves's firing and the general layoff, no staff graphic artist position became available or vacant. (Dyball Decl. at P 3 (Ex. 18 to Def.'s Reply to Pls.' Final Proposed Order).) Even if a job had become open, according to defendant, Graves was a poor candidate for it: former co-workers have stated in affidavits that he talked incessantly, watched television at work constantly, was late for work and took over-long meal breaks. *fn29" To be sure, Graves's own testimony disputes these characterizations of his work. Nevertheless, defendant has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that Graves would have been fired in the general 1986 layoff and that he was not likely to be one of the post-layoff re-hires. Accordingly, he is not entitled to backpay after that date.

 ii. Mitigation

 ABC concedes that "based upon the Court's default judgment," Graves is entitled to backpay through April 1986 if this court finds that he took adequate steps to mitigate his damages during that period. (Def.'s Supp. Mem. in Opp'n to Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief at 10.) The court finds that he did. Graves made an earnest if unsuccessful effort to secure employment in his field in this five-month period of unemployment. Indeed, to collect the unemployment compensation that he received in 1986, he was required to demonstrate at least three hard contacts for prospective employment each week. (Graves Aff. at P 28 (Ex. E to Pls.' Final Proposed Order for Relief).)

 During the five-month period between the date he was fired and the date that he would have been laid off (had he not been fired), Graves earned no income. *fn30" He collected $ 11,280.00 in unemployment insurance in 1986. (Appendix A to Graves Aff. (Ex. E to Pls.' Final Proposed Order for Relief).) About a third of that payment -- $ 3,760.00 -- is attributable to the fraction of the year that he would have been employed had ABC not fired him. During this same five-month period, Graves would have earned approximately $ 13,053.33 had he not be fired by ABC. *fn31" Accordingly, Graves is entitled to $ 9,293.33, which is $ 13,053.33 less his unemployment insurance payment for that period, $ 3,760.00.

 iii. Reinstatement

 In addition to backpay, Graves seeks an order directing ABC to reinstate him as a full-time graphic artist. (Pls.' Final Proposed Order at 41.) As discussed above, however, Graves's old job at ABC no longer exists. He cannot be reinstated to it.

 Construing his request liberally as seeking an order directing ABC to hire him as a staff graphic artist -- a position that survived the April 1986 layoff -- does not win Graves injunctive relief either. ABC has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that even if he had lasted the year at ABC, he was not likely to be promoted to staff graphic artist -- not because of racism but because he was a poor candidate for promotion. This showing defeats Graves's claim for injunctive relief for the same reasons that it defeats his claim for post-1986 backpay.

 B. Retaliation

 Shepherd claims $ 150,000.00 in damages for ABC's alleged retaliation against her for expressing concerns about workplace discrimination at a meeting of minority employees in October 1985. (Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief at 9.) Similarly, Graves claims $ 300,000.00 in damages for ABC's alleged retaliation against him for attending the October 1985 meeting and for encouraging Shepherd. (Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief at 8.) Both of these claims must be denied.

 After plaintiffs made these retaliation damages claims in their May 1992 Proposed Order for Relief, this court vacated its original conclusion that ABC had retaliated against Graves and Shepherd for their attendance at the October meeting. (Mem. Op. of Sept. 3, 1993 at 39.) Because the default judgment against ABC on the retaliation count no longer stands, no damages can be awarded for it.

 C. Punitive Damages

 Punitive damages awards are available for violations of the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act. *fn32" However, like punitive damages awards in general in this jurisdiction, they may be awarded only against one who "'participated in the doing of such wrongful act or had previously authorized or subsequently ratified it with full knowledge of the facts.'" Jordan v. Medley, 228 U.S. App. D.C. 425, 711 F.2d 211, 216 (D.D.C. 1983) (citation omitted). For punitive damages to be awarded against a corporate defendant, "it must be shown that the wrongful act was authorized and ratified by the corporation, not merely perpetrated by an employee." Remeikis v. Boss & Phelps, Inc., 419 A.2d 986, 992 (D.C. App. 1980). See also Woodard v. City Stores Company, 334 A.2d 189, 191 (D.C. App. 1975) (mere retention and promotion of an employee does not amount to corporate ratification that would expose corporation to liability for punitive damages).

 The default judgment in this case establishes that connection between ABC and its employee actors. Although the default judgment memorandum opinion says nothing explicit on the subject, the effect of the default judgment is to take as true all well-pleaded allegations (see Hughes, 449 F.2d at 63-64), and well-pleaded allegations in the complaint clearly establish the necessary link leading from ABC's employees' actions to ABC's liability. *fn33"

 Punitive damages may be awarded only if "the conduct complained of [was] 'willful and outrageous, constituted gross fraud, or [was] aggravated by evil motive, active malice, deliberate violence or oppression.'" Raynor v. Richardson-Merrell, Inc., 643 F. Supp. 238, 245 (D.D.C. 1986) (citations omitted). Plaintiffs' claims meet this standard. In finding that defendant intentionally inflicted emotional distress on plaintiffs, this court has already determined the two sufficient elements of a punitive damages claim: that defendant's actions were both intentional and outrageous. Accordingly, even though such awards are disfavored in the District of Columbia, *fn34" plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages.

 Setting the amount of punitive damages "is within the sound discretion of a trial court that is sitting without a jury." Mariner Water v. Aqua Purification, 214 U.S. App. D.C. 248, 665 F.2d 1066, 1071 (D.C. Cir. 1981). Although plaintiffs claim $ 2,500,000 each in punitive damages from ABC, they cite no authorities granting such amounts. (Defendants, who have argued strongly that no punitive damages are due, have not offered this court any guidance on the range of punitive damages awards appropriate to discrimination cases.) This court's independent research indicates that there is an extraordinarily wide range of punitive damages awards, from $ 1,000 to $ 300,000. *fn35"

 In the present case, defendant's behavior towards the plaintiffs was willful and egregious. Like the plaintiff in Arthur Young, who brought a very similar action under the DCHRA (see supra note 35), Graves and Shepherd were continually harassed in their jobs. Graves's superior forced him to work under more trying conditions that non-black employees, assigning him to menial tasks, keeping him in the dark about departmental procedures, setting him impossibly short deadlines and complaining that he did not meet them, and ultimately firing him. Likewise, Shepherd's superior consistently treated her worse than male and non-black employees, even those with less seniority, and humiliated her in front of her colleagues. Like the plaintiff in Arthur Young, the discrimination that Graves faced culminated in his losing his job; *fn36" like the Arthur Young plaintiff, he is entitled to $ 75,000 in punitive damages. Unlike the plaintiff in Arthur Young, however, the discrimination Shepherd faced was never so onerous as to drive her to quit. Accordingly, Shepherd is entitled only to $ 50,000 in punitive damages.

 In closing, it is worth noting that each plaintiff's total award -- $ 125,000 for Shepherd, and $ 184,293.33 for Graves -- is safely below the amount that Congress believes is excessive compensation for employment discrimination. Congress has determined that discriminators like defendant ABC who are sued under Title VII can be held liable for no more than $ 300,000 for future pecuniary and non-pecuniary compensatory damages and punitive damages. *fn37" Although this is a DCHRA and not a Title VII case, Congress's upper limit on compensatory and punitive damages does give this court a sense of the national consensus on what a reasonable award is. The awards in this case do not exceed that nationally sanctioned figure.

 D. Injunctive Relief

 Lastly, plaintiffs' complaint and proposed order for relief ask this court to enter orders directing defendant ABC to desist from the discriminatory conduct against Shepherd and Graves that was described in the complaint. (Complaint at 18, 19; Pls.' Proposed Order for Relief at 4-5.) This court shall enter an order directing defendant ABC to desist from the discriminatory conduct described against Shepherd, since she still works for defendant ABC. Because Graves is no longer working for defendant ABC, no order protecting him from employment discrimination need issue, and his request for injunctive relief shall be denied as moot.

 E. Attorney's Fees and Costs

 Finally, plaintiffs have requested attorney's fees and costs incurred in this action.

 As the prevailing party, plaintiffs are clearly entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs under the DCHRA. *fn38" However, the fact that their counsel took this case on contingency does not entitle them to their claimed 200 percent enhancement of the lodestar amount. Such contingency enhancements are not permitted in the District of Columbia under federal fee-shifting statutes, *fn39" and rules governing the determination of federal fee awards routinely govern DCHRA fee awards. *fn40"

 Aside from these broad brushstrokes, the precise amount of attorney's fees and costs owed to plaintiffs is still undetermined. To aid this court's determination of an appropriate award, the parties shall submit supplemental briefing on the issue in accordance with an order that will issue separately. Upon review of the supplemental briefs, this court shall issue a separate order awarding reasonable attorney's fees and costs. In the meantime, the quantification of a reasonable attorney's fee award and costs shall be delayed until further briefing.

 IV. CONCLUSION

 Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, Shepherd shall be awarded $ 125,000.00 in damages from defendant ABC, Graves shall be awarded $ 184,293.33 in damages from defendant ABC, and defendant ABC shall desist from the discriminatory conduct against plaintiff Shepherd that was described in the complaint. A separate order shall issue this date.

 Royce C. Lamberth

 United States District Judge

 DATE: 6-13-94

 ORDER

 This case comes before this court on plaintiffs' request for attorney's fees and costs from defendant American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., under the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act, 2 D.C.C. §§ 1-2501 et seq. To aid this court's determination of an appropriate award, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit supplemental briefing on the issue in accordance with the following schedule:

 1. Within 20 days of the date of this order, plaintiffs shall submit a final request for attorney's fees and costs. Such request will contain the following:

 a. A single, updated, detailed and accurate statement of all attorney's fees requested in this case.

 b. A single, updated, detailed and accurate statement of all costs (expended either by plaintiffs' counsel or by plaintiffs themselves) that plaintiffs seek to have taxed to defendant ABC. The statement must designate the statutory or other authority that permits this court to tax each cost.

 c. A statement of plaintiffs' counsels' claimed hourly rate or rates, and a brief and clear statement of whether their claimed rate is their established billing rate, or the prevailing market rate.

 i. If counsels' claimed rate is their established billing rate, plaintiffs shall state what their counsels' established billing rate is and what it has been for each year of this litigation. Plaintiffs shall also provide evidence showing whether those rates are within the range of rates charged for such services in the District of Columbia.

 ii. If counsels' claimed rate is the prevailing market rate, plaintiffs shall demonstrate that their counsel lack an established billing history upon which an award may be based. They shall also provide evidence showing that plaintiffs' counsel have lowered their rates below the prevailing market rate out of public interest motives.

 d. A statement of the number of hours their counsel worked on this case. Plaintiffs shall demonstrate good billing judgment in indicating wasted or needlessly spent time that should not be charged to defendant.

 e. A statement of whether plaintiffs seek current or historical rates for their counsels' work, and a brief argument in favor of plaintiffs' choice.

 2. Defendant ABC may submit an opposition within ten days of the filing of plaintiff's final fee request. Such opposition shall contain the following:

 a. A single, updated, detailed and accurate statement of all the attorney's fees and costs requested by plaintiffs that defendant does not contest, in light of this court's ruling that plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

 b. A single, updated, detailed and accurate statement of all the attorney's fees and costs requested by plaintiffs that defendant contests. Defendant shall state in detail why it contests each of the contested items.

 c. Any other arguments, rebuttals, or discovery requests that defendant wishes to make.

  3. Plaintiff may submit a final reply regarding the amount of attorney's fees and costs to be awarded within seven days of service of the opposition.

  SO ORDERED.

  Royce C. Lamberth

  United States District Judge

  DATE: 6-13-94

  ORDER

  This case comes before this court on five motions relating to the determination of a damages award. Upon consideration of these motions, their oppositions, and replies, it is hereby ORDERED that

  1. Defendants' motion for certification of the court's default judgment is DENIED.

  2. Defendants' motion for leave to file an opposition to plaintiffs' final proposed order for relief and supplemental supporting memorandum is GRANTED. The Clerk of the Court shall file defendants' opposition to plaintiffs' final proposed order for relief and supplemental supporting memorandum as of the date of this order.

  3. Plaintiffs' motion to seal their opposition to defendants' motion for leave to file a reply to plaintiffs' final proposed order for relief is DENIED as moot. The motion seeks to prevent defense counsel from revealing to defendant Dyball certain facts about a witness's allegations. Dyball, however, already knew those facts before plaintiffs filed the motion to seal. The memorandum of Kenneth Dyball in opposition to the motion to seal, and any and all other filings pertaining to the motion to seal shall be unsealed forthwith.

  4. Defendant Dyball's motion for leave to file a surreply to plaintiffs' reply to defendant Dyball's opposition to plaintiffs' motion to seal plaintiffs' opposition to defendants' motion for leave to file a reply to plaintiffs' final proposed order for relief is GRANTED. The Clerk of the Court shall file defendant Dyball's surreply as of the date of this order.

  5. Plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a reply to all defendants' oppositions to plaintiffs' proposed order for relief is DENIED as moot. The motion seeks leave to submit a reply by July 16, 1992, a date that has long passed. (No proposed reply was submitted as an exhibit to plaintiffs' motion.) In any event, on December 20, 1993, plaintiffs filed a final proposed order for relief and a supplemental supporting memorandum, which addresses many of the issues raised by defendants' oppositions to plaintiffs' original proposed order and serves in effect as a reply.

  SO ORDERED.

  Royce C. Lamberth

  United States District Judge

  DATE: 6-13-94


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