Legal Memorandum: Relief available in a Title VII Case

Issue: What type of relief is available to a plaintiff in a Title VII case?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Theory of relief; Title VII claim
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 748 S.W.2d 243; 795 S.W.2d 313; 747 S.W.2d 361
Cited Statutes: 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-7; Title VII
Date: 08/01/2001

The Second Circuit advocates permitting a successful plaintiff to recover under the theory of relief that affords the most complete recovery possible.  See Magee v. U.S. Lines, Inc., 976 F.2d 821, 822 (2d Cir. 1992).  Magee has been applied in cases in which the plaintiff brought both a Title VII or other federal claim as well as a state-law claim.  See, e.g., Distefano v. Long Island R.R., No. 96 CV 5487 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 21, 1999); Ginsberg v. Valhalla Anesthesia Assocs., P.C., 171 F.R.D. 159 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). 

As the court explained in Bick v. City of New York, No. 95 CIV.8781(KMH)(MHD) (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 21, 1998),

[t]he solution lies in the fact that Title VII was not intended to preclude a plaintiff from recovery under state law . . . and . . . the Second Circuit has endorsed the notion of permitting a successful  plaintiff to recover under “the theory of liability that provides the most complete recovery.”  Since Title VII caps damages and state law does not, plaintiff’s entire compensatory damage award in this case should be allocated to her successful Human Rights Law claim.

Id. (citations omitted).  See also Madison v. IBP, Inc., CIVIL No. 4-96-CV-20712 (S.D. Iowa Dec. 28, 1999) (reallocating the plaintiff’s sexual harassment damages between her state and federal claims to afford her the most complete relief possible, relying on 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-7), aff’d in part, vacated in part on other grounds, __ F.3d __, (8th Cir. June 25, 2001); Goodwin v. Seven-Up Bottling Co., […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)