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Lloyd v. Ashcroft

June 27, 2002

ARTHUR L. LLOYD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN ASHCROFT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court are defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, for a new trial or remittitur of the verdict, plaintiff's opposition and defendant's reply. Upon consideration of the arguments of the parties and the entire record herein, the Court grants defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law in part and denies it in part. The Court denies defendant's motion for a new trial and his motion for remittitur.

I. BACKGROUND

On October 26, 2001, after an eight-day trial on plaintiff Arthur Lloyd's claims of discrimination and retaliation, the jury returned a verdict in Mr. Lloyd's favor on all six claims, answering affirmatively to each of the following six questions:

1. Has plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his failure to receive a promotion to a GS-12 Senior Deputy U.S. Marshal position in September 1992 was, more likely than not, motivated by plaintiff's having engaged in protected activity?

2. Has plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his failure to be assigned to the Warrant Squad between 1990 and 1994 was, more likely than not, motivated by plaintiff's race?

3. Has plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his failure to be assigned to the Warrant Squad between 1990 and 1994 was, more likely than not, motivated by plaintiff's having engaged in protected activity?

4. Has plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he was required to go through additional procedures regarding his leave and that such requirement was, more likely than not, motivated by plaintiff's having engaged in protected activity?

5. Has plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he was denied overtime on February 11, 1994 and that such denial was, more likely than not, motivated by plaintiff's having engaged in protected activity?

6. Has plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he was denied various assignments before 1994 and that such denials were, more likely than not, motivated by plaintiff's having engaged in protected activity? See Jury Verdict Form at 1-2.

On the verdict form in response to a seventh question, the jury awarded Mr. Lloyd a total of $36,000 in compensatory damages. See id. at 3.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law

Entry of judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is warranted only if "'the evidence and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom are so one-sided that reasonable men and women could not' have reached a verdict in plaintiff's favor." McGill v. Munoz, 203 F.3d 843, 845 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (quoting Duncan v. Washington Metro. Area Transit Auth., 201 F.3d 482, 485 (D.C. Cir. 2000)). "In making that determination, a court may not assess the credibility of witnesses or weigh the evidence," Hayman v. National Academy of Sciences, 23 F.3d 535, 537 (D.C. Cir. 1994), nor may it "substitute its judgment for that of the jury." Boodoo v. Cary, 21 F.3d 1157, 1161 (D.C. Cir. 1994); see 9A CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT & ARTHUR R. MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE ยง 2524 (2d ed. 1995) (on a motion for judgment as a matter of law, a court "must view the evidence most favorably to the party against whom the motion is made"). "Because a judgment as a matter of law intrudes upon the rightful province of the jury, it is highly disfavored." Boodoo v. Cary, 21 F.3d at 1161. Viewing the evidence presented at trial in a light favorable to plaintiff and drawing ...


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