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Golden v. World Security Bureau, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 16, 2013

DEANO GOLDEN, LATRICE REED, and PHYLON MOORE, Plaintiffs,
v.
WORLD SECURITY BUREAU, INC., GLENDON GROVES, and IBRIHIM KISWANI, Defendants

Page 851

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 852

For Deano Golden, Plaintiff: Uche O. Asonye, Asonye and Associates, Chicago, IL.

For Phylon Moore, Plaintiff: Uche O. Asonye, Jason D Keck, Asonye and Associates, Chicago, IL.

For Latrice Reed, Plaintiff: Jason D Keck, Scott C. Fanning, Uche O. Asonye, Asonye and Associates, Chicago, IL.

For Ibrihim Kiswani, Glendon Groves, Defendants: Mark David Hansen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Graefe & Hansen, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

For World Security Bureau, Inc, Defendant: Mark David Hansen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Anthony Sargent Graefe, Graefe & Hansen, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

OPINION

Page 853

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, United States District Judge.

This case went to trial before a jury on the claims of Latrice Reed against World Security Bureau, Inc. (WSB), Ibrihim Kiswani, and Glendon Groves for race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. [1] The jury found in favor of Reed against WSB and Groves on her claim of a racially hostile work environment but in favor of Kiswani on that claim, and it found in favor of all defendants on the retaliation claim. The jury awarded Reed $20,000 in compensatory damages against WSB and Groves, $50,000 in punitive damages against WSB, and $5,000 in punitive damages against Groves. Defendants have moved for entry of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or for a new trial on various grounds. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the motion.

JMOL motion

A court may grant judgment as a matter of law when " a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the [nonmoving] party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1); see Thomas v. Cook County Sheriff's Dep't, 604 F.3d 293, 300-01 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court " do[es] not weigh evidence or assess the credibility of witnesses. Instead, [it] draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Thomas, 604 F.3d at 300-01 (citations omitted).

1. JMOL -- liability of WSB

To prevail on her hostile work environment claim, Reed was required to prove, among other things, that she subjectively believed the conduct in question to be harassing. WSB argues that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to find that Reed met this requirement. The Court disagrees. Reed testified that she found the conduct at issue offensive and that it upset her, and the jury was entitled to believe her testimony. The testimony was sufficient to meet Reed's burden.

WSB's primary contention is that Reed did not prove the elements needed to establish employer liability (that is, WSB's liability) for the hostile work environment. In a case of co-worker harassment, an employer is liable ...


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