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Unformatted text preview: red in denying their post- 98 verdict motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b) because
there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that race was a substantially
motivating factor in Adcom's decision to terminate Smith. Defendants also challenge the
jury's finding that Leggett was sufficiently interrelated with Adcom to be held liable for
Smith's wrongful termination. Finally, Defendants object to the district court's award of
For the following reasons, we REVERSE.
Boyce A. Smith ("Smith"), an African-American, worked as a wire drawing machine
operator at Adcom Wire Company ("Adcom") in Nicholasville, Kentucky from 1974
until 1994. Adcom is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Missouri-based Leggett & Platt, Inc.
("Leggett"). During those years, Smith was paid on an incentive basis depending on his
weekly productivity. Adcom considered Smith to be one of the most productive wire
drawers in the plant.
In February 1994, Smith's incentive production numbers began to drop steadily for no
apparent reason, resulting in decreases in his weekly paychecks. [*3] Smith complained
to the plant superintendent, Chip Ford ("Ford"). Ford testified that he reviewed Smith's
daily production totals and the raw data for his production, checked with the Quality
Control Department, reviewed the lab reports on rejects for rejected wire, met with the
plant accountant to make sure the calculations were correct, and reviewed the production
numbers for other operators working on the same machines to determine if they were
consistent. Ford informed Smith that he could not find anything amiss with the
Smith's production numbers continued to fall over the next month. Smith again
complained to Ford, who testified that Guy immediately reported the threat to Ford. Ford
then reported the incident to the Plant Manager, Steve Riley ("Riley"). [*4] Riley
discussed the matter with Ford and Bill Avise, the Vic...
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08