Smith & Carney v. Tower Automotive Operations USA 1, LLC
Joseph Smith & Joshua Carney v. Tower Automotive Operations USA 1, LLC
U.S.D.C., Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division
Cause No. 3:13-cv-00967-CWR-FKB
On April 18, 2014, a jury in the United States District Court in Jackson, Mississippi, returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs in the above-referenced matter. Plaintiff Joseph (Jody) Smith was awarded $122,400.00 in actual damages and $10,000.00 in compensatory damages. Plaintiff Joshua Carney was awarded $118,800.00 in actual damages and $20,000.00 in compensatory damages.
The jury found that Smith and Carney, both white, were illegally fired by Tower Automotive Operations USA 1, LLC (“Tower”), in retaliation for the men’s report of racist remarks by a supervisor at the Tower plant in Meridian, Mississippi. Both men worked in maintenance at the plant. Smith and Carney reported that the supervisor, also white, made derogatory comments about black persons in connection with a local jazz festival. The comments reported were statements such as, “Can you imagine all the chicken and barbeque ribs that will be eaten at this thing?” and “You know all them brothers have got to have their barbeque.” Smith also complained that the same supervisor later told him an African American employee was “stupid” and kept her job only because she was black.
Tower claimed the men filed a false report in retaliation against the supervisor who had reported them for sleeping on the job.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs were Jim Waide and Rachel Pierce Waide of Waide & Associates, P.A. in Tupelo, Mississippi. Attorneys for Defendant were Karen Gwinn Clay and Jerrald L. (Jerry) Shivers of The Kullman Firm in Jackson, Mississippi. U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves presided over the trial.