IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA

CEDAR RAPIDS DIVISION

 


JOHN G. SNYDER

 

Plaintiff,

No. C01-119

vs.

FINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS

YELLOW FREIGHT SYSTEM, INC.,

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. ___

          In this case, Plaintiff alleges claims of discrimination in violation of federal law, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and state law, the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Under each of these laws, it is unlawful for an employer to make an employment decision on the basis of an individual’s age if that individual is 40 years of age or older.


INSTRUCTION NO. ___

          The following brief summary of the case is not to be considered evidence or proof of any facts or events in the case. It simply informs you of the factual disputes between the parties.

          This is a civil suit brought by the Plaintiff John G. Snyder against the Defendant Yellow Freight System, Inc., alleging age discrimination in violation of state and federal law. Snyder alleges that his age played a part in the decision of Yellow Freight not to hire him as a full-time driver. Yellow Freight denies that age was a factor in the decision not to hire Snyder and claims instead that the decision was based on legitimate, non-discriminatory factors other than age.

          You will be asked to resolve these disputes between the parties.


INSTRUCTION NO. ___

          It is your duty to find from the evidence what the facts are. You will then apply the law, as I give it to you, to those facts. You must follow my instructions on the law, even if you thought the law was different or should be different. Do not allow sympathy or prejudice to influence you. The law demands of you a just verdict, unaffected by anything except the evidence, your common sense, and the law as I give it to you.

          You are entitled to consider the evidence in light of your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life.


INSTRUCTION NO. ___

          You may not return a verdict for Plaintiff just because you might disagree with Defendant’s actions or believe them to be harsh or unreasonable. 

 


INSTRUCTION NO. ___

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


INSTRUCTION NO. ____

          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. ___

          I have mentioned the word "evidence." The "evidence" in this case consists of the following: the testimony of the witnesses, 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.

          


INSTRUCTION NO. ___

          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 general reasonableness of the testimony, and the extent to which the testimony is consistent with any other 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. ___

          You have heard evidence that in October, 1999 Yellow Freight branch manager Morrison allegedly made the comment that he wanted to hire a younger person and train him his way. If you find this statement was made, you may consider the statement only for the limited purpose of determining whether Yellow Freight discriminated against Plaintiff because of his age in the hiring process in February or June, 2000.

 


INSTRUCTION NO. ___

          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. __

          If you find in favor of Plaintiff, then you must award Plaintiff such sums for back pay and emotional distress damages as you find have been proven by the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence. Plaintiff’s claim for damages includes two distinct types of damages and you must consider them separately:

          1. Back Pay

          If you find that Defendant would have hired Plaintiff but for his age, you should award damages in an amount equal to the amount Plaintiff would have earned during the period from February 7, 2000 or June 12, 2000 to present. To determine this amount, begin your calculation from the date Defendant failed to hire Plaintiff, then subtract the amount of earnings and benefits Plaintiff received from other employment during that time.

          2. Emotional Distress

          Emotional distress may include emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life that was caused by Defendant’s failure to hire Plaintiff from June 12, 2000 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.

          You are also instructed that Plaintiff has a duty under the law to “mitigate” his

                                                                CONTINUED


INSTRUCTION NO. ___ (CONTINUED)

damages – that is, to exercise reasonable diligence under the circumstances to minimize his damages. Therefore, if you find by the preponderance of the evidence that Plaintiff failed to seek out or take advantage of an opportunity that was reasonably available to him, you must reduce his damages by the amount he reasonably could have avoided if he had sought out or taken advantage of such an opportunity.

          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. ___

          In 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. ___ (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 

 

 

 

 


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA

CEDAR RAPIDS DIVISION

 

 

JOHN G. SNYDER,

 

Plaintiff,

No. C01-119

vs.

VERDICT FORM

YELLOW FREIGHT SYSTEMS, INC.,

Defendant.

                                 

DIRECTIONS

 

           The verdict in this case will be determined by your answers to a series of questions set forth below. Make sure that you read the questions and notes carefully because they explain the order in which the questions should be answered and which questions may be skipped.

            In Question 1, you will be asked whether Plaintiff’s age was a motivating factor in Defendant’s decision not to hire him. Age is a “motivating factor” if age is a consideration that moved Defendant toward its decision, that is, if it played a part in Defendant’s decision. If it has been proved that Plaintiff’s age was a motivating factor in Defendant’s decision, you must answer “yes” to Question 1. If it has not been proved, you must answer “no” to Question 1. 

            In Question 2, you will be asked whether Plaintiff’s age was a determining factor in Defendant’s decision not to hire him. “Age was a determining factor” only if Defendant would have hired Plaintiff but for Plaintiff’s age. It does not require that age was the only reason for the decision made by defendant. You may find that age was a determining factor if you find Defendant’s stated reasons for its decision are not the true reasons, but are a pretext to hide age discrimination. If it has been proved that Plaintiff’s age was a determining factor in Defendant’s decision, you must answer “yes” to Question 2. If it has not been proved, you must answer “no” to Question 2.

            In Question 3, you will be asked whether Defendant would not have hired Plaintiff, regardless of his age. If it has been proved that Defendant would not have hired Plaintiff regardless of his age, you must answer “yes” to Question 3. If it has not been proved, you must answer “no” to Question 3.

            Question 4 deals with the amount of damages Plaintiff is eligible to recover. In answering Question 4, you are instructed to assess Plaintiff’s damages in accordance with Instruction No. ___.

            Question 5 deals with whether Defendant’s conduct was “willful.” Defendant’s conduct was willful if you find by the greater weight of the evidence that, when Defendant failed to hire Plaintiff, Defendant knew the failure to hire was in violation of the federal and/or state laws prohibiting age discrimination, or acted with reckless disregard of that law.

 


QUESTIONS

 We the jury unanimously find the following verdict on the questions submitted to us:

QUESTION 1:

 

Has it been proved by the greater weight of the evidence that Plaintiff’s age was a motivating factor in Defendant’s decision not to hire him?

 

                      ________ Yes         _________ No

                      (Mark an “X” in the appropriate space)

 

Note:              Continue on to Question 2 only if you answered “Yes” to Question 1. If you                       answered “No” to Question 1, you need not answer Questions 2 through 5.                       You should have your foreperson sign and date this form because you have                       completed your deliberation on this age-discrimination claim.

 

 

QUESTION 2:

 

Has it been proved by the greater weight of the evidence that Plaintiff’s age was a determining factor in Defendant’s decision not to hire him?

                      _______ Yes           ________ No

                      (Mark an “X” in the appropriate space)

 

Note:             Continue on to Question 3 only if you answered “No” to Question 2. If you                       answered “Yes” to Question 2, go directly to Questions 4 and 5.

 

QUESTION 3:

 

(Answer this question if you answered “Yes” to Question 1 and “No” to Question 2.)

 

Has it been proved by the greater weight of the evidence that Defendant would not have hired Plaintiff regardless of his age?

 

                      ________ Yes         ________ No

                      (Mark an “X” in the appropriate space)

 

Note:             Continue on to Questions 4 and 5 only if you answered “No” to Question 3.                       If you answered “Yes” to Question 3, have your foreperson sign and date this                       form because you have completed your deliberations on this age-                                     discrimination claim.

 

 


Question 4:

 

(Answer this question only if you answered “Yes” to Question 2 or “No” to Question 3.)

 

What is the amount of Plaintiff’s damages as that term is defined in Instruction No. ___? (Enter 0 if you find no damages as to either category.)

 

Back pay: $____________

 

Emotional Distress: $_____________

 

Question 5:

 

(Answer this question even if you answered “Yes” to Question 2 or “No” to Question 3.)

 

Has it been proved by the greater weight of the evidence that Defendant’s conduct was “willful”?

 

                      _______ Yes           ________ No

                      (Mark an “X” in the appropriate space)

 

 

 

The foreperson should sign and date this Verdict Form.

 

Dated this ____ day of April, 2003

 

                                                                  ____________________________________

                                                                                       Foreperson