$337K Conagra Discrimination

$337,000 VERDICT IN CONAGRA RACE DISCRIMINATION CASE

SUMMARY: A U.S. District Court jury found in favor of John Johnican and against ConAgra Poultry on the fourth day of a race discrimination trial and awarded $275,000 damages. The jury found that Johnican, age 31, of El Dorado, had been discriminated against and subjected to a "hostile environment" in the Maintenance Department at ConAgra, where he worked as a Maintenance Technician from 1994 to 1999.

The jury awarded $25,000 compensatory damages for emotional distress and $250,000 punitive damages after deliberating three and a half hours. Johnican's attorneys argued that ConAgra's treatment was part of a pattern and practice of discrimination which had gone on for several years. To that amount, the District Judge added $52,229.41 in attorneys' fees and costs, for a total verdict of $327,229.41.

Reportedly, the verdict was the first race discrimination verdict against ConAgra in El Dorado.

CASE NAME / NUMBER:John Johnican v. ConAgra Poultry Company; Case No. Cv00-1091

COURT: USDC [Western]- Hon. Harry Barnes

DEMAND: $143,000

OFFER: $50,000

VERDICT: $325,000

EXPERTS: Dr. Charles Venus, a consulting economist, testified.

DATE TRIED: The case was tried to a jury March 4-7, 2002.

REPORTING COUNSEL: Morgan "Chip" Welch and Lloyd "Tré" Kitchens, of Eubanks, Welch, Baker & Schulze of Little Rock.

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