MITCH GOREE, ET AL.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC.
25, 2017 Session
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-003102-11
Jerry Stokes, Judge
the second appeal of this employment discrimination case
involving two plaintiffs. In the first appeal, Goree v.
United Parcel Service, 490 S.W.3d 413 (Tenn. Ct. App.
2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. March 23, 2016),
this Court reversed the judgment as to one plaintiff and
affirmed the judgment as to the other plaintiff, the
Appellant in the instant case. On remand, the trial court
determined that the specific attorney's fees chargeable
to each plaintiff could not be determined and reduced the
previous award of attorney's fees and costs by 50%.
Appellant appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and Remanded.
H. Espey, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mitch
M. Crider and Aron Z. Karabel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, United Parcel Service, Inc.
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Richard H. Dinkins, and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.
the second appeal of this employment discrimination case. The
background facts and procedural history are set out in our
first opinion, Goree v. United Parcel Service, 490
S.W.3d 413 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2015), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. March 23, 2016) ("Goree I"), and we
will not extend the length of this opinion to restate them
here. Suffice to say that Messrs. Mitch Goree
("Appellant") and James Wherry filed suit against
Appellee United Parcel Service ("UPS"), claiming
racial discrimination and unlawful retaliation in violation
of the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Following a jury trial,
Mr. Goree received a verdict of $2, 600, 000 ($600, 000 in
back pay and benefits and $2, 000, 000 in compensatory
damages). Mr. Wherry was awarded $2, 042, 000.00 ($1, 042,
000 in back pay and $1, 000, 000 in compensatory damages).
Messrs. Goree and Wherry filed a motion for attorney's
fees and costs; UPS opposed the motion. The trial court
granted the full amount of attorney's fees that Messrs.
Goree and Wherry sought, i.e., $263, 322.50 in fees and $11,
497.11 in costs.
Goree I, this Court reversed the trial court's
remittitur of Mr. Goree's award for back pay and benefits
of $600, 000 and upheld the trial court's remittitur of
Mr. Goree's compensatory damages in the amount of $1,
100, 000. As is important to the instant appeal, in Goree
I, this Court reversed the verdict in favor of Mr.
Wherry on the ground that Mr. Wherry had failed to meet his
burden of proof on his claims for racial discrimination and
remand from Goree I, the trial court addressed
several motions. As is relevant to the this appeal, UPS filed
a motion to amend or modify the order on attorney's fees
and costs. By its motion, UPS sought a reduction of the award
of attorney's fees and costs by 50% based on the fact
that this Court reversed Mr. Wherry's judgment in
Goree I. By order of May 9, 2016, the trial court
granted UPS's motion, reducing the total attorney's
fees from $263, 322.50 to $131, 661.25 and the total costs
award from $12, 352.67 to $6, 176.33. The trial court's
order states, in relevant part:
The Court grants UPS's request to reduce Plaintiffs'
attorneys' fees and discretionary costs by 50% because
UPS was the prevailing party on James Wherry's claims.
Further, UPS argued that it was impossible to segregate the
fees and costs and the Court agrees. Therefore,
Plaintiffs' counsels' total fee award shall be
reduced from $263, ...