King v. CVS Caremark Corp., Case No.: 1:12-CV-1715-VEH

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
Writing for the CourtVIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, United States District Judge
Citation163 F.Supp.3d 1165
Parties James R. King, Plaintiff, v. CVS Caremark Corporation, a/k/a CVS Pharmacy, Defendant.
Decision Date23 February 2016
Docket NumberCase No.: 1:12-CV-1715-VEH

163 F.Supp.3d 1165

James R. King, Plaintiff,
v.
CVS Caremark Corporation, a/k/a CVS Pharmacy, Defendant.

Case No.: 1:12-CV-1715-VEH

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division.

Signed February 23, 2016


163 F.Supp.3d 1167

Leirin Michael Ragan, Alicia Kay Haynes, Charles E. Guerrier, Kenneth D. Haynes, Haynes & Haynes PC, Birmingham, AL, for Plaintiff.

163 F.Supp.3d 1168

Amy K. Jordan, Jennifer M. Busby, S. Greg Burge, Sharonda Donje' Childs, Burr & Forman, LLP, Birmingham, AL, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The trial of this case arising under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) began on February 9, 2015, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff James A. King (“Mr. King”) on February 19, 2015.1 (Doc. 153); (see also Docs. 165-171 (7 volumes of trial transcript proceedings)). The jury awarded Mr. King $1,065,383.15 in compensatory damages (Doc. 153-1 at 1 ¶ 2) on his age discrimination claim against Defendant CVS Caremark Corporation (“CVS”) and also found that CVS had willfully violated the ADEA.2 (Doc. 153-1 at 2 ¶ 3).

On June 3, 2015, the court entered a partial final judgment:

Accordingly, the Defendants' motions for judgment as a matter of law remain GRANTED as to Plaintiff's defamation/libel/slander, invasion of privacy, interference with business relations, and negligence claims and all such claims remain DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to both defendants. Defendant Cody Berguson remains terminated as a party defendant. Further, CVS's motions for judgment as a matter of law remain DENIED as to Plaintiff's age discrimination claims, including willfulness.

(Doc. 178 at 4).3 On that same date, the court entered a separate final judgment order in the combined amount of $2,130,766.30 in favor of Mr. King based upon the jury's age discrimination and willfulness findings against CVS. (Doc. 180).

Defending itself during the course of the lengthy trial by only asking questions of witnesses called by Mr. King during his case-in-chief, CVS strategically chose not to put on its own separate case-in-chief in support of its various defensive positions why it was not liable to Mr. King for age discrimination, why it had not acted willfully under the ADEA and why, if liability was proven, Mr. King's damages were inflated. Now dissatisfied with the jury's credibility and factual determinations adverse to it and disappointed by the resulting sizeable verdict and judgment in favor of Mr. King, CVS seeks to hit the reset button in light of its failed litigation strategy. CVS attempts this through a collection of multifaceted motions claiming error on the part of the court, error on the part of the jury, and error on the part of opposing counsel. CVS's excessive efforts aimed at erasing a judgment which naturally flows from the jury simply disbelieving CVS's witnesses and not agreeing with its minimally presented defensive positions at trial are, for the most part, flawed and unavailing. The one exception is CVS's challenge

163 F.Supp.3d 1169

to Mr. King's life insurance damages in the amount of $450,000, which the court concludes are excessive as a matter of law for the reasons explained herein.

Specifically pending before the court and under submission are CVS's: (i) Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (Doc. 197) (the “Renewed JMOL”); (ii) Motion for New Trial (Doc. 198) (the “New Trial Motion”); (iii) Motion for Suggestion of Remittitur in the Alternative to Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and Motion for New Trial (Doc. 199) (the “Remittitur Motion”).4 CVS filed these three motions on July 1, 2015, and the parties have since fully briefed them. (Docs. 203-208). After carefully considering all of CVS's contentions,5 CVS's Renewed JMOL is DENIED . CVS's New Trial Motion and Remittitur Motions are GRANTED IN PART and otherwise DENIED .

II. RENEWED JMOL

A. Standards

Rule 50 provides in pertinent part:

(a) Judgment as a Matter of Law.

(1) In General. If a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue, the court may:

(A) resolve the issue against the party; and

(B) grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against the party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling law, can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable finding on that issue.

(2) Motion. A motion for judgment as a matter of law may be made at any time before the case is submitted to the jury. The motion must specify the judgment sought and the law and facts that entitle the movant to the judgment.

(b) Renewing the Motion After Trial; Alternative Motion for a New Trial. If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law made under Rule 50(a), the court is considered to have submitted the action to the jury subject to the court's later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion. No later than 28 days after the entry of judgment—or if the motion addresses a jury issue not decided by a verdict, no later than 28 days after the jury was discharged—the movant may file a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law and may include an alternative or joint request for a new trial under Rule 59. In ruling on the renewed motion, the court may:

(1) allow judgment on the verdict, if the jury returned a verdict;

(2) order a new trial; or

(3) direct the entry of judgment as a matter of law.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(a)-(b)

Within the Eleventh Circuit, a renewed motion under Rule 50(b) must be based upon the same grounds as the original motion.

The fact that Rule 50(b) uses the word “renew[ed]” makes clear that a Rule 50(b) motion should be decided in the same way it would have been decided
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prior to the jury's verdict, and that the jury's particular findings are not germane to the legal analysis. See, e.g., [Doe v. ] Celebrity Cruises, Inc. , 394 F.3d [891,] 903 [ (11th Cir.2004) ] (“This Court repeatedly has made clear that any renewal of a motion for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(b) must be based upon the same grounds as the original request for judgment as a matter of law made under Rule 50(a) at the close of the evidence and prior to the case being submitted to the jury.”); Caban Wheeler v. Elsea , 71 F.3d 837, 842 (11th Cir.1996) (stating that a Rule 50(b) motion “may be used to renew consideration of issues initially raised in a pre-verdict motion [under Rule 50(a) ],” but that the court cannot consider matters not raised in the initial motion ). The jury's findings should be excluded from the decision-making calculus on a Rule 50(b) motion, other than to ask whether there was sufficient evidence, as a legal matter, from which a reasonable jury could find for the party who prevailed at trial.

Chaney v. City of Orlando , 483 F.3d 1221, 1228 (11th Cir.2007) (emphasis added).

The Eleventh Circuit has described the application of the Rule 50 standard as follows:

This Court reviews a Rule 50 motion de novo , applying the same standard as the district court. Telecom Technical Servs. Inc. v. Rolm Co. , 388 F.3d 820, 830 (11th Cir.2004). The motion should be denied only if reasonable and fair-minded persons exercising impartial judgment might reach different conclusions. Abel v. Dubberly , 210 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir.2000) (per curiam). We consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, id. but we review all evidence in the record and “draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party [without] mak[ing] credibility determinations or weigh[ing] the evidence,” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc. , 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2110, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). “Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). When reviewing the record, we “must disregard all evidence favorable to the moving party that the jury is not required to believe.” Id. at 151, 120 S.Ct. 2097. Therefore, we “should give credence to the evidence favoring the nonmovant as well as that evidence supporting the moving party that is uncontradicted and unimpeached, at least to the extent that that evidence comes from disinterested witnesses.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “the nonmoving party must provide more than a scintilla of evidence that there is a substantial conflict in evidence to support a jury question.” Berman v. Orkin Exterminating Co. , 160 F.3d 697, 701 (11th Cir.1998) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Mee Industries v. Dow Chemical Co. , 608 F.3d 1202, 1210–11 (11th Cir.2010).

B. Ruling

This court has previously denied CVS's first Rule 50 motion with respect to the evidentiary sufficiency of Mr. King's age discrimination claim. (Doc. 171 at 56);6 (see also Doc. 178 at 3-4). Nothing in...

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3 practice notes
  • Bd. of Trs. of the Univ. of Ala. v. Houndstooth Mafia Enters. LLC, Case No.: 7:13-CV-1736-RDP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • February 23, 2016
    ...when the motion to enforce this court's judgment was filed. Likewise, she did not intervene at the time that this court invited the 163 F.Supp.3d 1165 USPTO to be heard on the motion to enforce. Rather, it was not until after the hearing on the motion to enforce that the belated motion was ......
  • Potts v. City of Bessemer, Case No.: 2:15-CV-1928-VEH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • August 25, 2017
    ...an order requiring any admission, reinstatement, hiring, promotion, or payment, described [herein].").King v. CVS Caremark Corp., 163 F. Supp. 3d 1165, 1195 n. 19 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (Hopkins, J). Page 29 The Plaintiff argues that the Cityhas not moved for summary judgment on a 'same decision'......
  • Adria MM Prods., Ltd. v. Worldwide Entm't Grp., Inc., Case Number: 17-21603-CIV-MORENO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • February 20, 2019
    ...relationships. The verdict was not "against the weight of the evidence," nor the damages excessive. King v. CVS Caremark Corporation, 163 F. Supp. 3d 1165, 1172 (N.D. Ala. 2016). Most importantly, allowing the verdict to stand will not result in a miscarriage of justice. Tampa Port Authorit......
3 cases
  • Bd. of Trs. of the Univ. of Ala. v. Houndstooth Mafia Enters. LLC, Case No.: 7:13-CV-1736-RDP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • February 23, 2016
    ...when the motion to enforce this court's judgment was filed. Likewise, she did not intervene at the time that this court invited the 163 F.Supp.3d 1165 USPTO to be heard on the motion to enforce. Rather, it was not until after the hearing on the motion to enforce that the belated motion was ......
  • Potts v. City of Bessemer, Case No.: 2:15-CV-1928-VEH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • August 25, 2017
    ...an order requiring any admission, reinstatement, hiring, promotion, or payment, described [herein].").King v. CVS Caremark Corp., 163 F. Supp. 3d 1165, 1195 n. 19 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (Hopkins, J). Page 29 The Plaintiff argues that the Cityhas not moved for summary judgment on a 'same decision'......
  • Adria MM Prods., Ltd. v. Worldwide Entm't Grp., Inc., Case Number: 17-21603-CIV-MORENO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • February 20, 2019
    ...relationships. The verdict was not "against the weight of the evidence," nor the damages excessive. King v. CVS Caremark Corporation, 163 F. Supp. 3d 1165, 1172 (N.D. Ala. 2016). Most importantly, allowing the verdict to stand will not result in a miscarriage of justice. Tampa Port Authorit......

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