Plaintiff Discrimination Verdict Upheld

In Diggs v. Oscar De La Renta, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 01390 (App. Div. 2nd Dept. Feb. 27, 2019), the court upheld a jury’s verdict in plaintiff’s favor on her race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims under, inter alia, the New York City Human Rights Law.

in reviewing the jury verdict, the court summarized the standard:

For a reviewing court to determine that a jury verdict is not supported by legally sufficient evidence, it must conclude that that ” there is simply no valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could possibly lead [a] rational [person] to the conclusion reached by the jury on the basis of the evidence presented at trial'” (Killon v Parrotta, 28 NY3d 101, 108, quoting Campbell v City of Elmira, 84 NY2d 505, 509; see Cohen v Hallmark Cards, 45 NY2d 493, 499; Gomez v Cabatic, 159 AD3d 62, 78). Moreover, a reviewing court “may not disregard a jury verdict as against the weight of the evidence unless the evidence so preponderate[d] in favor of the [moving party] that [it] could not have been reached on any fair interpretation of the evidence'” (Killon v Parrotta, 28 NY3d at 107, quoting Lolik v Big V Supermarkets, 86 NY2d 744, 746; see Gomez v Cabatic, 159 AD3d at 78).

The court held that the jury verdict in plaintiff’s favor met these standards.

As to attorney fees, the court explained:

In any civil action commenced pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law, “the court, in its discretion, may award the prevailing party reasonable attorney’s fees, expert fees and other costs” (Administrative Code ยง 8-502[g] [former (f)]). An award of attorney’s fees, whether pursuant to agreement or statute, must be reasonable and not excessive (see RMP Capital Corp. v Victory Jet, LLC, 139 AD3d 836, 839; Miller Realty Assoc. v Amendola, 51 AD3d 987, 989; RAD Ventures Corp. v Artukmac, 31 AD3d 412, 414). In determining what is reasonable compensation for an attorney, the court may consider a number of factors, including, inter alia, the time and labor required, the difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill required to handle the problems presented, the lawyer’s experience, ability, and reputation, the customary fee charged for similar services, and the results obtained (see RMP Capital Corp. v Victory Jet, LLC, 139 AD3d at 839; Diaz v Audi of Am., Inc., 57 AD3d 828, 830). The determination of reasonable attorney’s fees is generally left to the discretion of the trial court, which is often in the best position to determine those factors integral to the fixing of a reasonable fee[.]

Here, the court upheld the Supreme Court’s award of an attorney fee of $115,603.73.

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