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Case / Legal Brief for Bunch V. King County ( Ralph D. Bunch V. King County Youth Department)

Updated on July 16, 2012

Intro

This Hub will feature the completed brief for Bunch Versus King County. In this hub I will write out the full brief using the standard criteria for a legal and law brief.


Ralph D. Bunch

v.

King County Department of Youth Service

Illustration:

This case deals with whether and when the courts have the right to award the defendant a remittitur

Facts:

Ralph Bunch took a job at Department of youth Services juvenile detention facility in 1991. Over the course of the time he worked there he was discriminated against, and given unfair suspensions. He was then terminated in 2001.

Prior Proceedings:

Bunch is suing the county department of youth services. He is suing them for employment discrimination over the course of the time that he worked for the juvenile detention center. He is suing them for the emotional distress, and wages that he lost when he was forced to get a security job which was significantly less paying than the Juvenile detention center. Bunch won, and was awarded, $3,500 in lost wages, $340,000 in lost future wages, and $260,000 in noneconomic damages, also $166,754.50 in attorney fees, and costs of $10,126. The county appealed on the basis of asking for remittitur on the noneconomic damages, which the appeals court granted. Bunch now is challenging the court of appeals remittitur.

Issue/Holding:

Does the court of appeals have the right to award remittitur to the county for the noneconomic damages awarded to Bunch?

Rationale:

The court of appeals awarded remittitur, on the basis that it was awarded as the result of passion and prejudice, and shocking to its conscience. The Supreme Court has a few reasons why this is not so true. First when comparing Bunch to the case of Hill, There are a few problems that turn up. First off, Hill’s noneconomic damages was 10 times the amount of economic damages, where as in Bunch’s case it was three quarters of his economic damages. Also the discrimination in Hill’s case occurred over thirteen months, where the discrimination given to Bunch happened over the course of six years. Also the court of appeals said “ the award indicates passion and prejudice” and says that the witnesses who needed to prove the discriminatory intent, tainted the jury’s verdict, and that’s what pushed for such a high noneconomic damages award. The supreme court looks at this and said that “ the size of this verdict is within the bounds of the evidence presented and there is no indication of anything untoward in the proceedings that justifies setting the verdict aside based on passion and prejudice.” Overall the Supreme Court finds that the court of appeals was not justified awarding remittitur to the defendant, and reversed it. The supreme court awards Bunch the $260,000 instead of the $25,000 it was reduced to.

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