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Home / Opinions / Courts / Court of Appeals, Eastern District / Employer – Employee : Disability Discrimination – Damages – Attorney’s Fees

Employer – Employee : Disability Discrimination – Damages – Attorney’s Fees

(1)Where a plaintiff who brought a disability discrimination against his former employer under the Missouri Human Rights Act was awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages, $500,001 in punitive damages, 5 percent in post-judgment interest and $81,500 in attorney’s fees, the employer’s challenge to the submissibilty of the case failed because the plaintiff established that he had a disability and that he was discharged, and he also made a submissible case for punitive damages based on the employer’s outrageous conduct, and the defendant did not show that the award was unconstitutionally excessive, so the judgment is affirmed over the defendant’s claims of instructional error.

(2)Where an employer in a disability discrimination action challenged the amount of the attorney’s fee award to the plaintiff since he did not prevail on all of his claims, the judgment is affirmed because the claims had common facts and were based on related legal theories, so the trial court is not required to divide or discount the hours when the effort and proof were the same for all of the claims whether successful or not, and the court carefully explained its award.

(3)Where an employer in a disability discrimination case challenged the trial court’s refusal to redact the dollar amounts of the plaintiff’s worker’s compensation settlement, the jury was aware that the plaintiff’s earlier injury resulted in a 32 percent permanent partial disability and there was no probative value to the amounts, so the redaction was not an abuse of discretion.

(4)Where a plaintiff in a disability discrimination case argued that the trial court erred in awarding 5 percent rather than 9 percent for post-judgment interest for the awards of damages, the appellate court finds that discrimination claims are analogous to tort claims for determining the proper interest rate, so the court did not err.

Judgment is affirmed.

Bowolak v. Mercy East Communities (MLW No. 67090/Case No. ED100502 – 22 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Hoff, J) Appealed from circuit court, St. Louis County, Sherry, J. (James M. Paul and Joshua D. Bortnick for appellant) (Robert J. Radice for respondent).

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