John McDuffy v Interstate Distributor Co (2005) H&FLR 2015-6
Multnomah County Circuit Court (Oregon)
5 October 2005
Coram: Not known
Appearing for the Plaintiff: Michael Ross (of Slater Ross)
Appearing for the Defendant: Alan Lee (of Bullard Law)
Catchwords: Oregon – truck driver – obesity – discrimination – compensation – quantum.
Facts: The plaintiff had worked as a commercial driver since 1987 and had been employed by the defendant since April 2003. He was classed as morbidly obese, being 6 feet tall and weighing 550 pounds (250 kilograms).
In May 2004 he was assigned to a truck which was smaller than usual and in which the steering mechanism could not be adjusted. He was unable to fit in the cab and reported the problem, after which he was suspended from duty without pay. In late May he was assigned a larger truck, but then again suspended pending medical clearance for work. On examination by a doctor it was found that he was able to drive a truck and had only minor other limitations on his capacity to work. Despite this his suspension was not lifted.
The plaintiff brought proceedings against his employer for discrimination. He tendered in evidence video footage of him performing his work duties.
Held: The jury upheld the plaintiff’s claim and awarded damages of $109,000.00.
The outcome was a jury finding and no written reasons are available. The report prepared based on an account in the Seattle Times of 7 November 2005 and the Oregonian of 6 November 2005.
Beverly Harsted (as Mother and Natural Guardian of Tiffany Harsted) v Prior Lake-Savage Independent School District 719 (2013) H&FLR 2014-51
Scott County District Court (Minnesota)
20 June 2013
Coram: Fahey J
Appearing for the Plaintiff: Martin Montilino
Appearing for the Defendants: Not represented
Catchwords: Minnesota – school sport – gymnastics – action by coach – back injury – damages – quantum
Facts: The 14 year old plaintiff (Tiffany Harsted) was a student at Prior Lake High School and part of its gymnastics team. During a gymnastics practice on 26 January 2011 she was lying on her stomach on the floor of a training venue with an icepack on her back. An assistant coach stepped on her back for reasons which were unclear. She experienced persistent pain after this incident which was eventually identified as a vertebral facet fracture (in addition to stress fractures which were attributed to repetitive trauma associated with gymnastics). The stress fractures recovered but the facet fracture did not fully heal. The evidence was that the plaintiff would continue to have back pain with activity. She was ultimately able to resume gymnastics.
The plaintiff sought compensation for her injury from the school. Damages were agreed with the operator of the school at $24,000.00 (inclusive of legal costs of $8,000.00). Application was made to the court for approval of an infant’s compromise.
Held: The Court’s records indicate that the compromise was approved, offering an insight into the damages considered appropriate for a blameless plaintiff with an injury of the type described.
No written reasons are available. This report has been prepared based on the Court’s Register of Actions and the report prepared by Kaitlyn Egan in the Prior Lake American of 16 June 2013.