final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 15-12643, William Thomas, Judge.
& Georges-Pierre, Jason S. Remer and Tyler A. Stull, for
Michael A. Pancier (Pembroke Pines), for appellee.
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and LAGOA and EMAS, JJ.
Jackson, the plaintiff below, appeals the final judgment
rendered in accordance with the motion for directed verdict
filed by his former employer, Kleen 1, LLC, the defendant
below. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and
reverse in part.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was employed by Kleen 1 for less than one week. A few days
into his employment, Jackson alleges that his supervisor made
several discriminatory racial comments toward him,
when Jackson later reported this behavior to Kleen 1's
vice president, he was fired. Jackson also contends that
while working for Kleen 1, he was given a disproportionate
amount of duties compared to other non-black or non-Jamaican
filed a lawsuit against Kleen 1, alleging three separate
violations of Florida's Civil Rights Act: racial
discrimination (Count I); national origin discrimination
(Count II); and retaliatory discharge (Count III). All three
claims were tried before a jury. Jackson sought damages for
lost wages and for emotional pain and mental anguish.
trial, Jackson testified that when his supervisor made the
discriminatory racial comments toward him he felt "very
bad" and "angry, mad." Jackson introduced no
evidence or testimony as to how he felt after Kleen 1
terminated him some three days after the discriminatory
racial comments were made.
close of Jackson's case, Kleen 1 moved for a directed
verdict, asserting Jackson had failed to present sufficient
evidence to establish a prima facie case. The court reserved
ruling on the motion. Thereafter, the jury returned a
verdict, finding in favor of Kleen 1 on the racial and
national origin discrimination claims (Counts I and II), but
found in favor of Jackson on his retaliatory discharge claim
(Count III). The jury awarded no damages to Jackson for lost
wages, but awarded him $8, 500 for emotional pain and mental
renewed its motion for directed verdict as to the retaliatory
discharge claim, asserting Jackson's testimony was
untrustworthy and uncorroborated. Further, Kleen 1 contended
there was no evidence to support an award of $8, 500 for
emotional pain or mental anguish, especially given that the
sole evidence was Jackson's testimony that he "felt
bad" when the discriminatory racial comments were made.
hearing, the trial court agreed that the jury found a
retaliatory purpose behind Jackson's termination, but
determined there was insufficient evidence to support the
damages award for emotional pain and mental anguish.
Jackson's counsel agreed that there was not an
"abundance" of evidence, but that his client did
testify that he felt bad, and argued this was sufficient to
support the $8, 500 award. Nonetheless, the trial court
granted Kleen 1's motion to enter judgment ...