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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
406 F. Supp. 2d 645 (2005)
Laura Barrios began working for E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) (defendant) in 1981 as a lab operator. Barrios was a 56-year-old woman with severe health conditions that made it difficult for her to walk. Her conditions were stable, and she had a high pain tolerance. DuPont effectively forced Barrios to take short-term disability leave and eventually discharged Barrios on total and permanent disability. Barrios unsuccessfully sought reinstatement at DuPont. Market evidence showed that Barrios would have made less money in similar local positions than she did at DuPont or through disability benefits. In 2003, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (plaintiff) sued DuPont on Barrios’s behalf. After a three-day trial, the jury found that Barrios’s termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and awarded Barrios $91,000 in backpay, $200,000 in front pay, and $1,000,000 in punitive damages, which the court reduced to $300,000 to comply with a statute. The jury calculated five years of backpay minus disability benefits, disregarding one doctor’s testimony that Barrios could not have worked for several of those years. The jury calculated front pay by finding that Barrios would have worked at DuPont until she was 65, adjusting her future salary to reflect modest pay increases, and subtracting future disability benefits. DuPont moved for posttrial relief, challenging the jury’s and district court’s assessment of damages.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Vance, J.)
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