Esler v. Sylvia-ReardonAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff filed an eight-count complaint against her former employer (Hospital) and former supervisor (collectively, Defendants). One count of Plaintiff’s complaint survived for purposes of trial. The jury returned a verdict finding that the Hospital terminated Plaintiff’s employment in retaliation for her exercise of the right to take medical leave under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The jury awarded Plaintiff damages in the form of back pay and front pay. Defendants filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (j.n.o.v.) or, in the alternative, for a new trial. The trial judge allowed the motion for j.n.o.v. and ruled that there was insufficient evidence to provide for an award of front pay. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the allowance of Defendant’s motion for j.n.o.v. and affirmed the judge’s order with respect to front pay, holding (1) the evidence was sufficient to permit a jury to conclude that Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff because she exercised her right to FMLA leave; and (2) the trial judge did not err in determining that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support an award of front pay. Remanded for further proceedings with respect to Defendants’ alternative request for a new trial.