LEIZER Z. GOLDSMITH OBTAINS $150,000.00 JURY VERDICT FOR DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HOSPITAL HOUSEKEEPER
On November 3, 2000, a jury of eight women in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia returned a verdict of $150,000.00 for emotional harms, in favor of Clarence Walker, Jr., a housekeeper at the Department of Veterans Affairs Washington Medical Center, and against the Department. Walker, a United States Army veteran himself, claimed that he was denied promotion from his housekeeping post to a higher paying housekeeping position in 1996, when he was unfairly rated not qualified for the promotion by a hospital “rating panel.” At trial, Walker produced witnesses and documents to show that the panel was fixed against him because he had previously filed a discrimination complaint against the supervisor who controlled the panel (after the supervisor threatened to fire him because of a knee injury). Walker's evidence included the testimony of a one of the panelists, who confessed to the misconduct, as well as “rating sheets” from the panel proceedings which supported Walker's claim that the panelists improperly coordinated their ratings of applicants, rather than arriving at them independently. The damages awarded by the jury represented compensation for upset and anger over being unfairly passed over promotion, which resulted in personal turmoil for Walker, as well as the onset of migraine headaches. The case was presided over by Senior United States District Judge June Green, who has entered judgment against the Defendant, which was then required to provide additional back pay, promotion, and attorneys' fees and costs.