Title VII, the Federal law that prohibits discrimination, limits the amount of possible damages that can be awarded to a plaintiff based on the number of employees working for the company during the current or preceding calendar year. The limits apply to both compensatory and punitive damages. If the company has 15-100 employees, the damage cap is $15,000; 101-200 is $100,000; 201-500 is $200,000 and 501+ is $300,000. Whereas, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination does not have any limitation to the potential damages.
In the matter of McKenna v. City of PhiladelphiaT, the plaintiffs and their attorneys learned this the hard way . The Jury awarded the three plaintiffs a total of $10,000,000 for their race discrimination suit. However, the verdict was reduced to $900,000 based on the damages cap in Title VII. The plaintiffs failed to assert a state law claim that did not include a statutory cap. Accordingly, each Plaintiff received $300,000 instead of a possible $3,300,000.
August 19, 2011 – Tom McKinney – Castronovo & McKinney