Cloutier v. GoJet Airlines, LLC, No. 19-1322 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against GoJet for violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after GoJet terminated him following his Diabetes Type II diagnosis. The jury found in plaintiff's favor and the district court granted him back pay, liquidated damages, and front pay. GoJet appealed and plaintiff cross-appealed.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of GoJet's motion to dismiss, holding that the arbitration provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) did not clearly, unmistakably, or explicitly state that plaintiff's FMLA claims could only be brought in arbitration. The court rejected GoJet's arguments that the district court erred in denying its motion for judgment as a matter of law. In regard to damages, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in calculating damages based on minimum hours at GoJet because it plausibly could have found that plaintiff would have worked the minimum number of hours from his termination date onward. However, the court held that the district court erred when it calculated front pay based on two different values for how much work the court expected plaintiff to work at GoJet and SkyWest. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded on this issue for the district court to apply a uniform hourly figure to calculate expected earnings at GoJet and SkyWest for the purposes of front pay. Finally, the court concluded that plaintiff waived his argument regarding the district court's front pay calculations based on post-trial evidence and his argument regarding the correct methodology for calculating damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed as to all other issues on appeal.