Judge Shira Scheindlin
Cellco Partnership does business as Verizon Wireless. A jury found for Campbell in his lawsuit charging Verizon with retaliatory discharge after he complained of racial bias and receiving a low evaluation after placement on an extended performance improvement plan. The court denied Verizon judgment as a matter of law or a new trial. However, denial of a new trial was conditioned on Campbell’s acceptance of a $125,000 emotional distress damages award, instead of the jury’s $200,000 award. Analyzing Campbell’s diversity suit under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework, the court found the verdict for Campbell not clearly erroneous or a miscarriage of justice. He offered enough evidence to allow a jury to find retaliation a substantial reason for Verizon’s adverse employment actions. In reducing the emotional distress damages award, the court—observing that in cases where medical corroboration is lacking the Second Circuit generally reduces awards of greater than $125,000—noted that Campbell provided no medical corroboration of his claims that he felt financially strained, had difficulty sleeping, was unnerved, and suffered a loss of dignity.