IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA

CEDAR RAPIDS DIVISION



EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION,

 

Plaintiff,

No. C01-140

vs.

FINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS

MERCY MEDICAL HOSPITAL, CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA d/b/a MERCY MEDICAL CENTER,

Defendant.

____________________


          Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: The instructions I gave you at the beginning of the trial and during the trial remain in effect. I will now give you some additional instructions.  

          You must, of course, continue to follow the instructions I gave you earlier, as well as those I give you now. You must not single out some instructions and ignore others, because all are important. This is true even though some of those I gave you at the beginning of and during trial are not repeated here.

          The instructions I am about to give you now are in writing and will be available to you in the jury room. I emphasize, however, that this does not mean they are more important than my earlier instructions. Again, all instructions, whenever given and whether in writing or not, must be followed.


INSTRUCTION NO. 1

 

          Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race. It is unlawful for an employer to intentionally refuse to hire any person because of such person’s race. The Plaintiff in this case, the EEOC, claims that Defendant, Mercy Medical Center, intentionally discriminated against William Bates by refusing to select him as Director of Environmental Services. The Defendant denies that its decision not to select Mr. Bates was based on his race. It is your responsibility to decide whether the Plaintiff has proven its claim against the Defendant by a preponderance of the evidence.

 


INSTRUCTION NO. 2

          In considering these instructions, attach no importance or significance whatsoever to the order in which they are given.


INSTRUCTION NO. 3

          Neither in these instructions nor in any ruling, action or remark that I have made during the course of this trial have I intended to give my opinion or suggestion as to what your verdict should be.


INSTRUCTION NO. 4

          I have mentioned the word "evidence." The "evidence" in this case consists of the following: the testimony of the witnesses and the documents and other things received as exhibits.

           Certain things are not evidence. I shall list those things again for you now:

          1.    Statements, arguments, questions, and comments by lawyers are not evidence.  

          2.      Exhibits that are identified by a party but not offered or received in evidence are not evidence.
         3.       Objections are not evidence. Lawyers have a right and sometimes an obligation to object when they believe something is improper. You should not be influenced by the objection. If I sustain an objection to a question or exhibit, you must ignore the question or the exhibit and must not try to guess what the information might have been.
         4.       Testimony and exhibits that I struck from the record, or told you to disregard, are not evidence and must not be considered.

          5.     Anything you saw or heard about this case outside the courtroom is not evidence.

          Finally, there are two types of evidence from which a jury may properly find the truth as to the facts of a case: direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is the evidence of the witness to a fact or facts of which they have knowledge by means of their senses. The other is circumstantial evidence - the proof of a chain of circumstances

CONTINUED

 

INSTRUCTION NO. 4 (continued)

pointing to the existence or nonexistence of certain facts. The law makes no distinction

between direct and circumstantial evidence. You should give all evidence the weight and value you believe it is entitled to receive.          


INSTRUCTION NO. 5

          In considering the evidence in this case, you are not required to set aside your common knowledge, but you have a right to consider all the evidence in the light of your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life.


INSTRUCTION NO. 6

          In deciding what the facts are, you may have to decide what testimony you believe and what testimony you do not believe. You may believe all of what a witness says, only part of it, or none of it.

          In deciding what testimony to believe, consider the witness’s intelligence, the opportunity the witness had to have seen or heard the things testified about, the witness’s memory, any motives that witness may have for testifying a certain way, the manner of the witness while testifying, whether that witness said something different at an earlier time, the witness’s drug or alcohol use or addiction, if any, the general reasonableness of the testimony, and the extent to which the testimony is consistent with any evidence that you believe. In deciding whether or not to believe a witness, keep in mind that people sometimes hear or see things differently and sometimes forget things. You need to consider, therefore, whether a contradiction results from an innocent misrecollection or sincere lapse of memory, or instead from an intentional falsehood or pretended lapse of memory.


INSTRUCTION NO. 7

          In these instructions you are told that your verdict depends on whether you find certain facts have been proved. The burden of proving a fact is upon the party whose claim depends upon that fact. The party who has the burden of proving a fact must prove it by the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence. To prove something by the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence is to prove that it is more likely true than not true. It is determined by considering all the evidence and deciding which evidence is more believable.

          The greater weight or preponderance of the evidence is not necessarily determined by the greater number of witnesses or exhibits a party has presented.


INSTRUCTION NO. 8

          Your verdict must be for Plaintiff on Plaintiff’s race discrimination claim if all of the following elements have been proved by the preponderance of the evidence:

          First: Mercy Medical Center did not hire William Bates; and

          Second: William Bates’ race was a motivating factor in Defendant’s decision.

          Mr. Bates’ race was a “motivating factor” if his race played a part or played a role in Mercy Medical Center’s decisions. However, Mr. Bates’ race need not have been the only reason for Mercy Medical Center’s employment decision.

          You may find that Mr. Bates’ race was a motivating factor in Mercy Medical Center’s decision not to hire Mr. Bates if the EEOC has proved by the greater weight of the evidence that Mercy Medical Center’s stated reasons for its decision not to hire Mr. Bates are not the true reasons, but are instead a pretext to hide a discriminatory decision. However, you cannot find that the “motivating factor” element of Mr. Bates’ race discrimination claim has been proved simply because you disagree with Mercy’s decisions, or think that those decisions were harsh or unreasonable. An employer may make employment decisions as it sees fit, as long as its decisions are not unlawful. Instead, the “motivating factor” element is only proved if you find by the greater weight of the evidence that Mr. Bates race was a motivating factor in Mercy Medical Center’s decision not to hire Mr. Bates.

          If any of the above elements have not been proved by the preponderance of the evidence, your verdict must be for Defendant.   


INSTRUCTION NO. 9

          

Plaintiff, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, must show that Defendant, Mercy Medical Center, intentionally discriminated against William Bates. Discrimination is seldom capable of direct proof. You should consider the facts and circumstances surrounding Defendant’s decision regarding Mr. Bates to determine Defendant’s intent.


 


INSTRUCTION NO. 10

 

          If you find in favor of Plaintiff under Instruction 8, then you must answer the following question in the Verdict Form: “Would Mercy Medical Center have selected Mr. Bates for the position as Director of Environmental Services if he were white and everything else had remained the same?” If Mercy Medical Center has proved its “same decision” defense, then you cannot award Mr. Bates damages for race discrimination, although he may be entitled to other relief that only the court can provide. Therefore, if you find that Mercy Medical Center has proved its “same decision” defense, you will still enter your verdict for Mr. Bates on his race discrimination claim in the Verdict Form, but you will answer “no” to Question 2 and award no damages to Mr. Bates on his race discrimination claim.

 


INSTRUCTION NO. 11

          If you find in favor of Plaintiff under Instruction 8 and if you answer “yes” in response to Question 2 in the Verdict Form, then you must award Plaintiff such sum as you find by the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence will fairly and justly compensate Plaintiff for any emotional distress damages you find Plaintiff sustained as a direct result of Defendant’s decision not to hire Plaintiff.

          Damages for “past emotional distress” must compensate Mr. Bates for any emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life that was caused by the wrongful conduct of the Defendant from the time of the wrongful conduct until the time you give your verdict.

          The amount, if any, that you assess for damages for emotional distress cannot be measured by an exact or mathematical standard and Plaintiff is not required to introduce evidence of the monetary value of such damages. You must use your sound judgment based upon an impartial consideration of the evidence to determine the amount of such damages.

          Remember, throughout your deliberations, you must not engage in any speculation, guess or conjecture and you must not award damages under this instruction by way of punishment or through sympathy.

 


INSTRUCTION NO. 12

          If you find in favor of Plaintiff under Instruction 8 and if you answer “yes” in response to Question 2 in the Verdict Form, then you must answer the following question in the Verdict Form: “Do you find that Mercy Medical Center acted with malice or reckless indifference to William Bates’ right not to be discriminated against on the basis of his race?”

          Mercy Medical Center acted with malice or reckless indifference if it has been proved by the preponderance of the evidence that Mercy Medical Center knew that its failure to hire Mr. Bates was in violation of the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race or acted with reckless disregard of that law.

 


INSTRUCTION NO. 13In conducting your deliberations and returning your verdict, there are certain rules you must follow.

          First, when you go to the jury room, you must select one of your members as your foreperson. That person will preside over your discussions and speak for you here in court.

          Second, it is your duty, as jurors, to discuss this case with one another in the jury room. You should try to reach an agreement if you can do so without violence to individual judgment, because a verdict must be unanimous.

          Each of you must make your own conscientious decision, but only after you have considered all the evidence, discussed it fully with your fellow jurors, and listened to the views of your fellow jurors.

          Do not be afraid to change your opinions if the discussion persuades you that you should. But do not come to a decision simply because other jurors think it is right, or simply to reach a verdict. Remember at all times that you are not partisans. You are judges - judges of the facts. Your sole interest is to seek the truth from the evidence in the case.

          Third, if you need to communicate with me during your deliberations, you may send a note to me through the court security officer, signed by one or more jurors. I will respond as soon as possible either in writing or orally in open court. Remember that you should not tell anyone - including me - how your votes stand numerically.

          Fourth, your verdict must be based solely on the evidence and on the law which I have given to you in my instructions. The verdict must be unanimous. Nothing I have said

CONTINUED

 

INSTRUCTION NO. 13 (continued)

or done is intended to suggest what your verdict should be - that is entirely for you to decide.

          Finally, the verdict form is simply the written notice of the decision that you reach in this case. You will take this form to the jury room, and when each of you has agreed on the verdict, your foreperson will fill in the form, sign and date it, and advise the court security officer that you are ready to return to the courtroom.

 

 

                                                                                                                                        

          DATE                                                      LINDA R. READE, JUDGE

                                                                           UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

                                                                           NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA