appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County. Karen Gievers,
L. Messersmith of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A., Orlando;
Linda Bond Edward and David B. Shelton of Rumberger, Kirk &
Caldwell, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellant.
E. Johnson of the Law Office of Richard E. Johnson,
Tallahassee; Marie A. Mattox and James Garrity of Marie A.
Mattox, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Timothy Moore won a $40,000 verdict plus front pay on his age
discrimination claim against his employer Capital Health Plan
(CHP), which promoted a younger doctor to a position that Dr.
Moore sought. On appeal, CHP takes issue with the sufficiency
of the evidence, the jury instructions, the award of front
pay, and the attorneys fee award. We affirm, except for the
attorneys fees issue, which we remand for additional
2015, Dr. Moore filed a complaint alleging age discrimination
against CHP under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA). The complaint alleged that CHP had created a new
position within its eye care department and selected a less
qualified doctor thirty years Dr. Moores junior. The case
went to trial in 2017. After Dr. Moore rested his case, CHP
moved for a directed verdict, arguing that Dr. Moore had
failed to show that its nondiscriminatory reasons for
selecting the younger doctor were pretextual. The trial court
denied the motion and the case was sent to the jury. The jury
found for Dr. Moore and awarded $40,000 in lost wages.
moved post-trial for front pay and attorneys fees, which CHP
contested. The court awarded both. Dr. Moore received front
pay in the amount of $10,000 for every year he continues to
be employed by CHP. On attorneys fees, the parties agreed on
the number of hours worked, but not on the hourly rates. The
court ultimately determined the hourly rates based on the
testimony of one of Dr. Moores attorneys and the transcript
of a fee hearing in a different case in federal court. CHP
now appeals the final judgment and the orders granting front
pay and attorneys fees.
find no error or abuse of discretion with the first three
issues raised by CHP. First, with respect to the denial of
CHPs directed verdict motion, we must affirm unless "no
proper view of the evidence could sustain a verdict in favor
of the nonmoving party." Owens v. Publix
Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So.2d 315, 329 (Fla. 2001).
Review is de novo. Williams v. Washington, 120 So.3d
1263, 1264 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013). In this case, although CHP
presented evidence suggesting that its hiring decision was
based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons, Dr. Moore
produced competent conflicting evidence that CHPs given
reasons for choosing the younger doctor over him were
pretextual and that age was the actual reason. Given the
conflicting evidence, we cannot conclude that the trial court
erred by denying CHPs motion for directed verdict.
Secondly, no reversible error was made as to the jury
instructions. We agree with CHPs argument that Dr. Moore
couldnt prevail on his ADEA claim just by proving that age
was "a motivating factor" in the promotion decision
rather than a "but-for" reason. SeeGross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc.,557 U.S. 167,