Taylor County School Board, represented by attorneys David Delaney and Jamie White of Dell Graham, P.A., won a retaliation trial in federal court on April 9, 2014, which was filed by a cosmetology student.
The student was dismissed from an adult education cosmetology program for failing to follow school rules and disturbing the educational environment. She subsequently filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, claiming that the School Board discriminated against her based on her disability and retaliated against her by dismissing her from the program for complaining of racial discrimination. After discovery, the disability discrimination claim was dismissed for lack of evidence, leaving the race-based retaliation claim for the jury to decide.
Ms. Harris asked the jury to award her $75,000 for mental pain and emotional anguish and in excess of $40,000 for lost wages. In just over an hour (and while eating lunch), the jury returned a verdict in favor of the School Board, awarding Ms. Harris nothing and finding that she did not have a good faith complaint of race-based retaliation.
Finally, in addition to the student failing to have a good faith complaint of race-based retaliation, defense counsel believes that entering the student’s extensive criminal and medical history into evidence – which counsel was able to have admitted over objection from the student’s attorney – was critical to prevailing in this case.