Stroup, et al. v. United Airlines, No. 19-1373 (10th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Defendant-Appellant United Airlines (“United”) appealed a district court’s denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”), and its motion for new trial. A jury found that United discriminated against two flight attendants, Plaintiffs-Appellees Jeanne Stroup and Ruben Lee by terminating them because of their ages in willful violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). United filed its motions with the district court, contending, among other things, that the jury’s verdict was based on legally insufficient evidence and the court erred in admitting Plaintiffs’ testimony about their emotional distress. The district court denied the motions. United contended: (1) the district court erred in denying its JMOL motion because (a) there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that United discriminated against Plaintiffs because of their ages in violation of the ADEA, and (b) similarly, there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that United acted willfully in committing any ADEA violation; and (2) the court abused its discretion and committed reversible error when it admitted Plaintiffs’ allegedly irrelevant and highly prejudicial emotional distress testimony. After review, the Tenth Circuit concluded there was sufficient evidence for the jury to reasonably find that, not only did United violate the ADEA by discriminating against Plaintiffs, but it did so willfully. Furthermore, the Court determined the district court did not err by admitting the challenged emotional distress testimony.