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United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
April 27, 2021, Filed
File Name: 21a0224n.06
Case No. 20-5845
[*32] THAPAR, Circuit Judge. When one employee assaults another, the answer isn't to let the victim go. But that's exactly what this Tennessee trucking company did. The company said it was out of options. A jury disagreed and awarded the victim $150,000. The company moved for a new trial, but the district court upheld the jury's verdict. We affirm.
Because this case arises after a jury verdict for Terri Peterson, we describe the facts (many of which were disputed at trial) in the light most favorable to her. Peterson wanted to be a truck driver, but she didn't yet have her commercial driver's license. So she started working as a trainee for a trucking company, West TN Expediting. The plan was for her to accompany one of West TN's employees, James Corbin, on trucking runs until she had the skills to pass the driving test.
The arrangement started badly and ended quickly. On one of their first nights on the road in April, Peterson woke up to Corbin's hand grabbing her breast. She screamed and told him to get away. When they got home, she reported [**2] the incident to company management. The second-in-command, Terri Peevyhouse, said she would handle it. But Peevyhouse didn't do any further investigating, and she didn't tell anyone else in management about the assault. Nobody approached Corbin about the accusation.
Peevyhouse continued to put Peterson and Corbin together on the driving schedule. And for the next two months, Peterson put up with Corbin's continued harassment. He would make lewd comments and try to touch her, but Peterson kept it to herself. At first, she thought Peevyhouse [*33] was working on a solution. But as time went on, she figured that Peevyhouse wasn't willing to help.
Then, one night in early June, Corbin put his hand between Peterson's legs while she was asleep. She screamed and said she would tell the company's owner, Jeff Buckner, about the assault. Corbin warned that she would lose her job if she told Buckner.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
856 Fed. Appx. 31 *; 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 12760 **; 2021 FED App. 0224N (6th Cir.); 2021 WL 1625226
TERRI PETERSON, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WEST TN EXPEDITING, INC., Defendant-Appellant.
Notice: NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION. SIXTH CIRCUIT RULE 28 LIMITS CITATION TO SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. PLEASE SEE RULE 28 BEFORE CITING IN A PROCEEDING IN A COURT IN THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. IF CITED, A COPY MUST BE SERVED ON OTHER PARTIES AND THE COURT. THIS NOTICE IS TO BE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED IF THIS DECISION IS REPRODUCED.
Prior History: [**1] ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE.
Peterson v. West TN Expediting, Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112375, 2020 WL 3492026 (W.D. Tenn., June 26, 2020)
assault, retaliation, causation, trucking, but-for, driving, punitive damages, undisputed, boyfriend, train
Civil Procedure, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, Motions for New Trials, Labor & Employment Law, Retaliation, Elements, Causation, Discrimination, Burdens of Proof, Actionable Discrimination