598 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2010), 08-3630, Quigley v. Winter

Docket Nº:08-3630, 08-3752.
Citation:598 F.3d 938
Opinion Judge:RILEY, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Jaymie QUIGLEY, Appellant/Cross-Appellee, v. Dale WINTER, Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
Attorney:Scott P. Moore, argued, Christopher R. Hedican, Allison D. Balus, on the brief, Omaha, NE, for appellant/cross-appellee. Robert B. Deck, Tod J. Deck, on the brief, Sioux City, IA, for appellee/cross-appellant.
Judge Panel:Before RILEY, HANSEN, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges. GRUENDER, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
Case Date:March 16, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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598 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2010)

Jaymie QUIGLEY, Appellant/Cross-Appellee,

v.

Dale WINTER, Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Nos. 08-3630, 08-3752.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

March 16, 2010

Submitted: Oct. 20, 2009.

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Scott P. Moore, argued, Christopher R. Hedican, Allison D. Balus, on the brief, Omaha, NE, for appellant/cross-appellee.

Robert B. Deck, Tod J. Deck, on the brief, Sioux City, IA, for appellee/cross-appellant.

Before RILEY, HANSEN, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

RILEY, Circuit Judge.

Jaymie Quigley brought claims against her landlord, Dale Winter, pursuant to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA), Iowa Code ch. 216, alleging (1) sexual harassment; (2) sex discrimination; and (3) coercion, intimidation, threat, and interference with Quigley's enjoyment of her housing rights. A jury found in favor of Quigley on all claims and awarded her $13,685.00 in compensatory damages and $250,000.00 in punitive damages.1 Quigley sought attorney fees and costs in the amount of $118,654.38. The district court reduced the punitive damages award to $20,527.50 and awarded Quigley $20,000.00 in attorney fees and $1,587.88 in costs.

Quigley appeals the district court's judgment, contending the district court erred in (1) reducing her punitive damages award, and (2) awarding her a reduced amount of attorney fees without conducting the proper analysis. Winter cross-appeals and asserts the district court committed various trial errors and erred in

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awarding any punitive damages to Quigley. We affirm the district court's judgment with respect to Winter's claims on cross-appeal, and we reverse with respect to Quigley's claims on appeal.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background2

Winter owned more than twenty rental homes in Sioux City, Iowa. Many of Winter's tenants were low-income women who received Section 8 housing vouchers (housing vouchers) from the Sioux City Housing Authority (SCHA) to help pay their rent. In 2000, Quigley, along with her then-husband and her four children, rented a home from Winter. Quigley used a housing voucher to pay her rent.

In 2002, Quigley informed Winter she was eligible to move into a larger home. Winter drove Quigley in his car to one of Winter's other properties. Quigley inspected the property, and when she returned to the car, Winter rubbed his hand down Quigley's arm and said, " [W]ell, how do you like it?" Quigley recalled this incident made her feel " [s]cared" and " yucky." Quigley, her boyfriend, and her children moved into a different rental property owned by Winter, using a housing voucher to pay the rent.

In 2004, Quigley's boyfriend moved to Louisiana to visit his ill father. After Quigley's boyfriend moved out of the house, Winter behaved inappropriately toward Quigley on several other occasions. First, Quigley learned from a neighbor that Winter had been inside Quigley's house without prior notice when Quigley was not at home. When Quigley went to her bedroom, she noticed her housecoat, which had been hanging on the back of the bedroom door when she left, was now lying on her bed. Quigley confronted Winter about entering the home without giving prior notice, and Winter claimed he had to replace the screen on Quigley's bedroom window. Quigley's screen was not damaged and had not been replaced.

One evening, Winter came to inspect Quigley's house while she was making dinner for her children. On that occasion, Winter stood very close to Quigley and rubbed his genital area. Another time, Winter came to Quigley's house for an inspection at 9:30 or 10:00 in the evening without giving Quigley prior notice. Quigley's fourteen year-old sister was staying the night with her, and they were in their pajamas getting ready for bed. While conducting his inspection, Winter followed Quigley and her sister into a bedroom and then a bathroom, which made them feel uncomfortable. Quigley and her sister were watching television, and Winter lay down on Quigley's sectional couch after he completed the inspection. Winter stayed on the couch for five or ten minutes until Quigley said, " Hey, Dale, we're going to bed." Quigley had to tell Winter to leave " at least three times" before he left. Quigley also reported receiving phone calls from Winter at inappropriate times, sometimes as late as 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning. Winter sounded intoxicated when he called, and the phone calls made Quigley feel scared and worried about protecting her children and younger sister.

Quigley wanted to move out of the house because of Winter's conduct, but she would have lost her housing voucher if she broke the lease. Quigley met with her SCHA worker and reported Winter's inappropriate actions. Quigley asked if she could change the locks on her rental home, but the housing worker told her she could not change the locks unless she gave Winter a key. The housing worker told Quigley she could get out of the lease without losing her housing voucher if Winter agreed to

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rescind the lease. When Quigley asked Winter to release her from the lease, Winter refused. Thereafter, Quigley changed the locks on her door without giving Winter a key.

About a month and a half before Quigley's lease ended, Winter showed up at her house while Quigley, her sister, and Quigley's friend were outside lying in the sun. Quigley approached Winter's vehicle and inquired whether she would be getting her deposit back. Winter fluttered his hand against Quigley's stomach and said, " My eagle eyes have not seen everything yet." Winter followed Quigley to the porch. Quigley observed Winter staring at Quigley's sister's chest. Quigley's sister was wearing shorts and a sport bra, so Quigley told her sister to " go get something on." Winter said to Quigley's sister, " You're really mature. How old are you?" When Quigley said her sister was " only 14," Winter said, " Well, she looks a lot more mature than you." Quigley's friend went to her car to get a cigarette, and Winter noticed the friend had a scar on her back. Winter traced the scar with his finger, without consent, pulling the friend's pants downward to see where the scar ended. Quigley moved out of the rental home, and Winter did not return her deposit.

Quigley filed a complaint with the Sioux City Human Rights Commission (SCHRC). The investigator who handled Quigley's complaint testified other single, female tenants of Winter's who were receiving housing assistance, corroborated Quigley's claims.

B. Procedural Background

In June 2006, Quigley filed a complaint against Winter in the district court, alleging sexual harassment; sex discrimination; and coercion, intimidation, threats, and interference with Quigley's rights, in violation of the FHA and the ICRA. Quigley also asserted a breach of contract claim against Winter based upon Winter's failure to return Quigley's deposit. Winter brought a breach of contract counterclaim against Quigley, insisting Quigley owed him unpaid rent and failed to leave the rental home " in a clean and satisfactory condition."

A five-day jury trial began in April 2008. At the end of the trial, the district court instructed the jury to consider whether: (1) Winter discriminated against Quigley on the basis of her sex; (2) Winter sexually harassed Quigley; (3) Winter coerced, intimidated, or interfered with Quigley's exercise or enjoyment of her housing rights; (4) Winter breached his contract with Quigley by failing to return her deposit; and (5) Quigley breached her contract with Winter by failing to leave the rental property in a clean and satisfactory condition. The jury found in favor of Quigley, and against Winter, on Winter's counterclaim and each of Quigley's claims, and awarded Quigley $13,685.00 in compensatory damages for the housing claims, $400.00 for Quigley's breach of contract claim, and $250,000.00 in punitive damages.

After the district court entered judgment, Winter filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law, a motion for a new trial, and a motion to alter or amend the judgment, in part objecting to the award of punitive damages. Quigley moved for an award of attorney fees and costs in the amount of $118,654.38. Following a hearing on the motions, the district court entered an order (1) denying Winter's motions for a new trial and judgment as a matter of law, (2) reducing the award of punitive damages from $250,000.00 to $20,527.50, and (3) awarding Quigley $20,000.00 in attorney fees and $1,587.88 in costs. Quigley appeals the district court's judgment with respect to the amount of punitive damages and attorney fees. Winter cross-appeals, asserting

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various errors at trial and objecting to any award of punitive damages.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Winter's Claims on Cross-Appeal

We first address Winter's claims on cross-appeal. Winter maintains the district court erred in submitting to the jury, and in denying Winter's post-trial motions related to, the following claims: (1) hostile housing environment caused by sexual harassment; (2) " quid pro quo" sexual harassment; (3) sex discrimination; and (4) coercion, intimidation, and interference with housing rights. Winter next insists the district court made the following evidentiary errors: (1) admitting " me too" testimony from three of Winter's former female tenants; (2) admitting the SCHRC's probable cause determination and testimony from a SCHRC investigator; and (3) excluding medical records and testimony from a physician's assistant at Siouxland Mental Health related to...

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