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Unformatted text preview: against a coworker's neck, yet he received
only a verbal warning.
Defendants maintained that Smith's threat, not his race, was the reason for his
termination. Riley testified that he was concerned about the threat because he knew Smith 100 had guns. As plant manager, Riley stated that he felt an obligation to ensure the safety of
all plant employees.
The district court granted judgment as a matter of law to Defendants on Smith's failure to
promote claim and patternor practice discrimination claim. The jury found that Adcom
fired Smith on the basis of race and awarded him $ 100,000 in damages. Defendants then
moved pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b) for a post-verdict judgment as a matter of law or,
in the alternative, for a new trial. The district court [*8] denied the motion. The court
then awarded Smith $ 135,547.48 in attorney's fees and $ 2,347.19 in costs and entered a
Defendants argue that the evidence failed to establish that Smith was terminated because
of his race. Specifically, Defendants contend Smith did not prove that the proffered
reason for Smith's termination - his threat to kill coworkers - was pretext for racial
We review a district court's denial of Defendants' Rule 50(b) motion de novo. See K&T
Enterpr., Inc., v. Zurich Ins. Co., 97 F.3d 171, 175 (6th Cir. 1996). Kentucky law governs
the standard of review in this case. See Morales v. American Honda Motor Co., 151 F.3d
500, 506 (6th Cir. 1998) (holding that in diversity cases, a state-law standard of review
applies when a Rule 50(b) motion for judgment as a matter of law is based on a challenge
to the sufficiency of the evidence). Under Kentucky law, a post-verdict motion for
judgment as a matter of law should be granted only if "there is a complete absence of
proof on a material issue in the action, or if no disputed issue of fact exists upon which
reasonable minds could differ. [*9] " Washington v. Goodman, 830 S.W.2d 398, 400
(Ky. Ct. App. 1992); see also Morales, 151 F.3d at 506 (quoting Washington). All
reasonable favorable inferences should be drawn in favor of the nonmovant. See Baylis...
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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