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Lee v. American Eagle Airlines, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
93 F.Supp.2d 1322 (2000)


Facts

Anthony Lee (plaintiff) sued American Eagle Airlines, Inc. (American) (defendant), alleging a racially hostile work environment in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the 14-day trial, Lee’s attorneys, Marvin and Ira Kurzban, acted belligerently. The Kurzbans made inappropriate and combative comments to opposing counsel during the trial. The Kurzbans also openly displayed dismay for many of the judge’s rulings by laughing or rolling their eyes. Marvin was also involved in an altercation with the court reporter, who had declined to produce a portion of the transcript. At the end of the trial, the jury found in favor of Lee, awarding $300,000 in compensatory damages and $650,000 in punitive damages. As the prevailing party, Lee sought approximately $1.6 million in attorney’s fees, which amounted to $300 per hour. The district court held an evidentiary hearing concerning the Kurzbans’ behavior during trial to decide whether their behavior should be considered when determining fees.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Middlebrooks, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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