891 F.2d 1212 (6th Cir. 1989), 88-4192, Erebia v. Chrysler Plastic Products Corp.

Docket Nº:88-4192.
Citation:891 F.2d 1212
Party Name:Federico EREBIA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CHRYSLER PLASTIC PRODUCTS CORPORATION; Chester R. Ferguson, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:December 15, 1989
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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891 F.2d 1212 (6th Cir. 1989)

Federico EREBIA, Plaintiff-Appellant,




No. 88-4192.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 15, 1989

Argued Sept. 19, 1989.

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Dennis E. Murray, Sr., Dennis E. Murray, Jr. (Argued), Kirk J. Delli Bovi, Murray & Murray, Sandusky, Ohio, for plaintiff-appellant.

Stephen J. Stanford, Mary Ann Whipple (argued), Fuller & Henry, Toledo, Ohio, for defendants-appellees.

Before MERRITT, Chief Judge; KRUPANSKY, Circuit Judge; and SIMPSON, District Judge. [*]

KRUPANSKY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant, Federico Erebia (Erebia), has appealed from the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants-appellees, Chrysler Plastic Products Corporation (Chrysler), and Chester R. Ferguson, Jr. (Ferguson), concluding that Erebia's instant action was barred by the doctrines of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel. Erebia charged, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, that Chrysler's refusal to rehire him was an act of retaliation resulting from his prior successful prosecution of two civil rights actions against Chrysler. Erebia has additionally asserted that Chester R. Ferguson (Ferguson), Chrysler's personnel manager, had tortiously interfered with his beneficial and contractual relationship with Chrysler.

Erebia, a Mexican-American, was initially employed by Chrysler in 1965 at its Sandusky, Ohio manufacturing plant and had, over the years, advanced to the position of supervisor. In 1983, Erebia initiated legal action against Chrysler pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, wherein he charged that two of his subordinates had racially abused him and that Chrysler had refused to affirmatively respond to his complaints. A jury verdict was returned in January 1984 wherein it was concluded that Chrysler had condoned and exposed Erebia to a hostile work environment and awarded him $10,000 in compensatory damages and $30,000 in punitive damages. On June 7, 1985, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the award of punitive damages and remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to reduce the compensatory damages to a nominal award. Erebia v. Chrysler, 772 F.2d 1250 (6th Cir.1984), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1015, 106 S.Ct. 1197, 89 L.Ed.2d 311 (1986) (Erebia I ).

In August of 1984, eight months after the final judgment in Erebia I, Chrysler discharged Erebia from his employment as a supervisor at the Sandusky plant. In November of 1984, Erebia initiated a second lawsuit, Erebia v. Chrysler, No. C84-7896, Slip op. (N.D.Ohio Dec. 24, 1986) (Erebia II ), against Chrysler charging retaliatory discharge pursuant to Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The 1981 claim was tried to a jury and resulted in an award in favor of Erebia of $75,000 in compensatory damages and $55,000 in punitive damages. The Title VII action was tried before the District Judge Walinski who made the following factual findings pertinent to the instant action.

Based on the record, the court finds Erebia has waived the right to demand reinstatement. Erebia never made

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Chrysler aware he sought this remedy until near the end of the trial. While it is true that Erebia was presumptively entitled to reinstatement, Erebia waived his right to demand reinstatement when he requested front pay. Inasmuch as front pay is an equitable remedy in lieu of reinstatement, Shore v. Federal Express, [777 F.2d 1155, 1159-60 (6th Cir.1985) ], Chrysler was led to...

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