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UPS Discrimination Award Reduced

May 27, 1998

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ A judge has reduced to $528,000 an $80.7 million jury award to a former United Parcel Service manger who alleged sexual discrimination, saying the verdict was subject to a federal cap.

A Polk County District Court jury in February had awarded Linda Channon $80.7 million, including $80.2 million in punitive damages, for alleged sexual discrimination and retaliation.

But UPS argued, and Polk County Chief District Judge Arthur Gamble agreed, that certain punitive and compensatory damages were limited to $300,000 under federal law governing such cases.

Gamble’s order, which set a total amount that included medical expenses, back pay and emotional distress at $527,872, was signed Friday but not made public until Tuesday.

``UPS consistently has maintained the verdict in this case was not supported by the evidence, and the jury’s award of such excessive punitive damages legally could not stand,″ said Norman Black, spokesman for the Atlanta-based company.

Channon’s attorney, Roxanne Conlin, had challenged the constitutionality of the law, arguing that it was wrong to deny a jury the ability to determine a maximum award.

Conlin indicated an appeal was likely.

Channon, a 22-year UPS employee, could not immediately be reached for comment, but ``she’s fine with it; it’s certainly what we expected,″ Conlin said.

Channon, 47, sued the nation’s largest package service after a driver under her indirect supervision allegedly poked her in the breast during an argument in 1993.

The driver was fired but was then rehired and began stalking her, Conlin said.

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