Lawyers from three New York law firms won a $13.4 million verdict in March in a single-plaintiff sexual harassment case against American Sugar Holding Inc., the parent company of Domino Sugar.
Nathaniel Charny of Charny & Wheeler, Megan Goddard of Goddard Law, and Gabrielle Vinci, an associate at Nesenoff & Miltenberg represented Rosanna Mayo-Coleman, a storeroom attendant at the Yonkers refinery of Domino Sugar. The federal jury in New York awarded Mayo-Coleman $1.7 million in compensatory damages and $11.7 million in punitive damages. However, the New York Law Journal theorized that the punitive damages are likely to be reduced by a federal statutory cap on such large awards.
Mayo-Coleman was a 20-year employee who was harassed continually after a new male manager assumed his role in 2008. After repeated episodes of misconduct and harassment, Mayo-Coleman sought psychiatric treatment and filed several complaints with the company beginning in 2010, which a jury found did not do enough to stop it.
“Ms. Mayo-Coleman fought for her rights, and the rights of all women to work in a harassment free environment. This litigation was a long, hard battle, but she never gave up,” Goddard said in a statement.
Against the backdrop of the #metoo movement, this is a significant sexual harassment/hostile work environment case under Title VII and New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL).
The trial began Feb. 26 and ended March 2 with the verdict and award.