United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
JEFFERY S. FRENSLEY U.S. Magistrate Judge
before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for New Trial
(Docket No. 91) and Defendant's Response in opposition
(Docket No. 95). For the reasons stated herein, the
Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.
Sanders filed this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 on December 28, 2015, alleging employment
discrimination based on race. (Docket No. 1). Specifically,
she contends that because of her race, she was hired at a
rate of pay that was less than similarly situated Caucasian
employees and continues to be paid less. Id.
Defendant Correct Care Solutions, Inc. (“CCS”)
denied liability asserting their employment decisions were
not based upon racial considerations. Docket No. 4. On
February 15, 2018, the jury rendered a verdict for CCS and
the clerk of Court entered a Judgment in CCS's favor.
Docket No. 90. On March 14, 2018, Ms. Sanders filed a Motion
for New Trial. Docket No. 91. CCS filed a response in
opposition on March 28, 2018. Docket No. 95.
a court may grant a new trial under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a)
“if the verdict is against the weight of the evidence,
if the damages award is excessive, or if the trial was
influenced by prejudice or bias, or otherwise unfair to the
moving party.” Conte v. Gen. Housewares Corp.,
215. F.3d 628, 637 (6th Cir. 2000). The Sixth Circuit has
explained that “the governing principle in the district
court's consideration of a Motion for a New Trial is
whether in the judgment of the trial court such course is
required to prevent an injustice. . . .” Park West
Galleries v. Hochman, 692 F.3d 539, 544 (6th
Cir. 2012)(quoting Davis by Davis v. Jellico Cmty. Hosp.
Inc., 912 F.2d 129, 133 (6th Cir.
1990)(internal quotation marks omitted)) The burden of
demonstrating the necessity of a new trial is on the moving
party, and the ultimate decision whether to grant such relief
is a matter vested within the sound discretion of the
district Court. Clarksville-Montgomery Co. Sch. Sys. v.
U.S. Gypsum Co., 925 F.2d 993, 1002 (6th Cir.
1991). The party seeking a new trial bears “a
heavy burden.” Miller v. American President Lines,
Ltd., 989 F.2d 1450, 1456 (6th Cir. 1993).
While the trial judge has great authority to grant new
trials, the motion should be denied if the verdict is one
that reasonably could have been reached, regardless whether
different inferences and conclusions could have been drawn or
other results are more reasonable. Walker v. Bain,
257 F.3d 660, 670 (6th Cir. 2001).
7(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures requires that
motions state with particularity the grounds for seeking the
Order. In the context of a Rule 59 motions for new trial,
Rule 7(b) “does not require ritualistic detail but
rather a fair indication to court and counsel the substance
of the grounds” for the Motion. Fed. R. of Civ. P. 59
advisory committee's note to the 1966 amendment. The
Sixth Circuit has indicated that the moving party's
“grounds in its motion for new trial must be
‘reasonably specific' in order to comply with the
particularity requirement imposed by Rule 7(b)(1).”
Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d, 605, 612
(6th Cir. 2005) (quoting Black Industry Inc.
v. Raulston Purina Co. 327 F.2d 266, 274 (8th
Cir. 1964)). No final transcript of the trial been prepared
or filed with the Court and therefore there are no citations
to the record. However, the grounds set forth in
Plaintiff's motion are “reasonably specific and
offer a fair indication to the court and counsel of the
substance of the grounds for the motion.
Plaintiff submits five assignments of error each of which she
contends requires that the Court grant her a new trial in
this matter. The Court will address each alleged error in
turn, discussing as well the appropriate standard of review.
Admissibility of CCS's Position Statement to the
to trial, CCS filed a Motion in Limine to Exclude the
Testimony or Evidence Related to Documents Submitted to the
EEOC in Response to the Plaintiff's EEOC Charge. Docket
No. 48. The Court held a hearing on the motions in limine and
reserved ruling on this motion. Docket No. 67. At trial,
Plaintiff sought to introduce Defendant's position
statement to the EEOC through the paralegal who prepared and
provided the document to the EEOC. Docket No. 91-1. Plaintiff
contends that it was error to exclude the document which
referenced specific white employees as “true
comparators” to the Plaintiff. Docket No. 91, pp. 3-4.
Plaintiff submits “this evidence was critical to
Plaintiff's case to demonstrate the comparator group was
limited to the time frame argued by Plaintiff and that
Defendant acknowledged the same to the EEOC.”
Id. Plaintiff argues this error was compounded by
allowing the Defendant “to significantly expand the
comparator group to one that inured to its benefit at
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's counsel conceded that
the position statement itself was impermissible to submit to
the jury.” Docket No 95, p. 2. They note that the Court
did not prevent Plaintiff from asking the witness, Linda
Callaway, if she ever referred to specific employees as
“true comparators” and “because Plaintiff
did not seek to impeach Ms. Callaway before attempting to use
the position statement, the Court properly excluded
it.” Id. at p. 3.
trial court's ruling on the admission of evidence is
reviewed for abuse of discretion. Trepel v. Roadway Exp.,
Inc., 194 F.3d 708, 716 (6th Cir, 1999). An
abuse of discretion is defined as “a definite and firm