(1)Where the plaintiffs in a hostile environment case stated in closing arguments that a sheriff, who was named as a defendant in his official capacity, had no personal financial liability, admission of the argument was not an abuse of discretion since the collateral source doctrine was not applicable as argued by defendants, and judgment is affirmed over the defendants’ challenges to expert testimony and instructions because the trial court also did not err in allowing a professor of African-American history to testify about the significance of a noose because the matter was not such common knowledge that it would invade the province of the jury, and expert testimony from a human resources employee was not an improper instruction of law.
(2)Where the trial court in a hostile environment case against a city and sheriff ordered remittitur of punitive damages from $350,000 to $75,000 for each plaintiff, the remitted amount was enough to deter future harassment but not so excessive as to shock the conscience, so the order was not an abuse of discretion, and the plaintiffs did not show that an award of attorneys fees in the amount of $326,000 was an abuse of discretion.
Judgment is affirmed; remanded.
Hill v. City of St. Louis (MLW No. 63609/Case No. ED96027/ED96174 – 24 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Crane, P.J.) Appealed from circuit court, St. Louis City, Cardona, J. (Jerome J. Dobson and Jonathan C. Berns for appellants) (Christine L. Hodzic and Nancy R. Kistler for respondents).