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Stockett v. Tolin

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
791 F. Supp. 1536 (1992)


Facts

Michelle Ann Stockett (plaintiff), 29 years old, was employed by three related and substantially integrated companies—Limelite Studios, Inc., Directors Production Company, and Limelite Video, Inc. (collectively, Corporate Defendants) (defendants)—from December 1985 through April 1987. Corporate Defendants were closely held companies run and substantially owned by Frank Tolin (defendant), a 71-year-old man. Tolin routinely and frequently touched and spoke to Stockett in a vulgar, sexual manner. The physical incidents included Tolin pressing against Stockett so that she was unable to move, groping her breasts, sticking his tongue in her ears, and licking her neck. Verbally, Tolin frequently made explicit, coarse, and degrading comments about having sex with Stockett. In all instances, Stockett resisted Tolin’s advances but remained on the job because she needed the work and wanted to gain experience in the industry. Tolin was extremely successful, having a net worth in the tens of millions. Employees of Tolin’s companies were well aware of his sexual conduct. Nearly all female employees had been subject to his overtures, and there were numerous witnesses to Tolin’s harassment of Stockett. In April 1987, Tolin threatened Stockett with termination if she did not sleep with him. Stockett quit. She sued Tolin and Corporate Defendants, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as battery, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Stockett provided evidence of past and ongoing effects from Tolin’s conduct including gastrointestinal conditions, loss of self-confidence, and an inability to trust men. The parties agreed to a nonjury trial.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marcus, J.)

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