DAVID PITTINGTON v. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN LUMBERJACK FEUD, LLC - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jan 24, 2018

Court: 6th Circuit Court (Published Opinions)

Attorneys 1:

ARGUED: Jesse D. Nelson, NELSON LAW GROUP, PLLC, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant. Al Holifield, HOLIFIELD JANICH RACHAL & ASSOCIATES, PLLC, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

Attorneys 2:

ON BRIEF: Jesse D. Nelson, NELSON LAW GROUP, PLLC, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant. Al Holifield, HOLIFIELD JANICH RACHAL & ASSOCIATES, PLLC, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

Judge(s): DAUGHTREY, MOORE, and SUTTON, Circuit Judges

Court Appealed: United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee at Memphis.

KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. Plaintiffs who successfully prove that they were fired in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) are presumptively entitled to back pay for the amount they would have earned had they not been unlawfully terminated. Such awards are intended to compensate fully plaintiffs for the wrongs that they suffered. For the same reason, an award of prejudgment interest on the back pay owed is also nearly always appropriate. We conclude from these principles that a district court must grant a motion for a new trial as to damages when a jury awards back pay to a Title VII plaintiff in an amount that is substantially less than the damages to which he is indisputably entitled. Once damages are calibrated correctly, the district court should also make an effort to align its award of prejudgment interest (if such interest is requested and warranted) with Title VII’s remedial goals. Because the district court failed to take those steps here, we REVERSE and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with our opinion.