IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA

CENTRAL DIVISION

JAMES E. AHRENS,
Plaintiff, No. C 96-3028-MWB
vs. PRELIMINARY AND FINAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE JURY
GOLDEN SUN FEEDS, INC.,
Defendant.

____________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS

NO. 1 - PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS

NO. 2 - GENERAL

NO. 3 - ELEMENTS OF CLAIMS

NO. 4 - DUTY OF JURORS

NO. 5 - ORDER OF TRIAL

NO. 6 - DEFINITION OF EVIDENCE

NO. 7 - CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES

NO. 8 - OPINION EVIDENCE--EXPERT WITNESSES

NO. 9 - STIPULATED FACTS

NO. 10 - DEPOSITIONS

NO. 11 - INTERROGATORIES

NO. 12 - OBJECTIONS

NO. 13 - BENCH CONFERENCES

NO. 14 - NOTE-TAKING

NO. 15 - BURDEN OF PROOF

NO. 16 - ADMONITION

FINAL INSTRUCTIONS

NO. 1 - INTRODUCTION

NO. 2 - IMPEACHMENT OF WITNESSES

NO. 3 - DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

NO. 4 - UNDUE HARDSHIP DEFENSE

NO. 5 - RETALIATORY DISCHARGE

NO. 6 - ACTUAL DAMAGES

NO. 7 - PUNITIVE DAMAGES

NO. 8 - DELIBERATIONS

VERDICT FORM

PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 1 - PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS



Members of the jury, before the lawyers make their opening statements, I give you these preliminary instructions to help you better understand the trial and your role in it. Consider these instructions, together with any oral instructions given to you during the trial and the written final instructions given at the end of the trial, and apply them as a whole to the facts of the case. In considering these instructions, the order in which they are given is not important.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 2 - GENERAL

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.

In this case, plaintiff James E. Ahrens claims that he was discriminated against by his employer, defendant Golden Sun Feeds, Inc., and that he was later discharged, because of a disability and in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. More specifically, Mr. Ahrens asserts that he is disabled because of back problems and that Golden Sun Feeds discriminated against him because he was disabled in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. He requests an award of monetary damages from Golden Sun Feeds for his discharge. He asserts further that he was terminated in substantial part in retaliation for filing an administrative claim for workers' compensation benefits with the Iowa Industrial Commissioner, which is a violation of the public policy of the State of Iowa. He also requests an award of monetary damages from Golden Sun Feeds for his retaliatory discharge.

Defendant Golden Sun Feeds denies both of Mr. Ahrens's claims in their entirety. Specifically, Golden Sun Feeds contends that Mr. Ahrens is not disabled within the meaning of the ADA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act and that Golden Sun Feeds did not perceive him to be disabled within the meaning of those statutes. Golden Sun Feeds also denies that Mr. Ahrens was qualified to work at its feed mill with his work restrictions or that any accommodation would allow Mr. Ahrens to perform job tasks at the mill without placing an undue burden on the employer. Golden Sun Feeds also denies that any discrimination or retaliation was involved in its discharge of Mr. Ahrens.

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



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 3 - ELEMENTS OF CLAIMS

To help you follow the evidence, here is a brief summary of the elements of plaintiff's claims. To win his claim of disability discrimination, Mr. Ahrens must prove the following three essential elements by the greater weight of the evidence:

One, Mr. Ahrens was a qualified person with a disability within the meaning of the ADA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Two, Golden Sun Feeds intentionally discriminated against Mr. Ahrens because of his disability, that is, the fact that Mr. Ahrens was disabled was a motivating factor in the decision of Golden Sun Feeds to terminate him.

Three, as a direct result of the intentional discrimination by Golden Sun Feeds, Mr. Ahrens sustained damages.

As a defense to Mr. Ahrens's disability discrimination claim, defendant Golden Sun Feeds contends that, if Mr. Ahrens was disabled within the meaning of the ADA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, it made a good faith effort to identify and make a reasonable accommodation for Mr. Ahrens's disability that would provide Mr. Ahrens with an equally effective job opportunity, but the reasonable accommodation would have caused an undue hardship on the operation of the business of Golden Sun Feeds. If Golden Sun Feeds proves this defense by the greater weight of the evidence, you must find for Golden Sun Feeds on Mr. Ahrens's disability discrimination claim.

To win his retaliatory discharge claim, Mr. Ahrens must prove each of the following five essential elements by the greater weight of the evidence:

One, Mr. Ahrens was an employee of Golden Sun Feeds.

Two, Golden Sun Feeds discharged Mr. Ahrens from employment.

Three, Mr. Ahrens's filing of a workers' compensation claim was the determining factor in Golden Sun Feeds' decision to discharge him.

Four, the discharge was a proximate cause of damage to Mr. Ahrens.

Five, the nature and extent of the damage caused by the retaliatory discharge.

This is only a preliminary outline of the elements of plaintiff's claims and defendant's defenses. At the end of the trial, I will give you final written instructions that explain plaintiff's claims and defendant's defenses in greater detail. Because they are more detailed, those final instructions govern on the elements of the claims and defenses.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 4 - DUTY OF JURORS

It will be your duty to decide from the evidence what the facts are. You, and you alone, are the judges of the facts. You will hear the evidence, decide what the facts are and then apply those facts to the law which I will give you in these preliminary instructions, any instructions given during the trial, and in the final instructions at the conclusion of the case. You will then deliberate and reach your verdict. You are the sole judges of the facts; but you must follow the law as stated in my instructions, whether you agree with it or not.

You have been chosen and sworn as jurors in this case to try the issues of fact presented by the parties. 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 will give it to you.

This case should be considered and decided by you as an action between persons of equal standing in the community, of equal worth, and holding the same or similar stations in life. In this case, the defendant is a corporation. The mere fact that a party is a corporation does not mean that it is entitled to any greater or lesser consideration by you. All persons, including individuals and corporations, stand equal before the law, and are entitled to the same fair consideration by you.

When a corporation is involved, of course, it may act only through natural persons as its agents or employees; and, in general, any agent or employee of a corporation may bind the corporation by the acts and declarations made while acting within the scope of the authority delegated to the employee by the corporation, or within the scope of the employee's or agent's duties as an employee or agent of the corporation.

You should not take anything I may say or do during the trial as indicating what I think of the evidence or what I think your verdict should be.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 5 - ORDER OF TRIAL

The trial will proceed in the following order:

After I conclude these preliminary instructions, the plaintiff's lawyer may make an opening statement. Next, the defendant's lawyer may make an opening statement. An opening statement is not evidence, but is simply a summary of what the lawyers expect the evidence to be.

The plaintiff will then present evidence and witnesses and the defendant may cross-examine. Following the plaintiff's case, the defendant may present evidence and witnesses and the plaintiff may cross-examine. Following the defendant's case, the plaintiff may take a further opportunity to present additional evidence.

After the evidence is concluded, I will give you the final instructions on the law that you are to apply in reaching your verdict. The lawyers will then make their closing arguments to summarize and interpret the evidence for you. As with opening statements, closing arguments are not evidence. I will then give you some final instructions on deliberations, and you will retire to deliberate on your verdict.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 6 - DEFINITION OF EVIDENCE

You shall base your verdict only upon the evidence and these and other instructions which I may give you during the trial.

Evidence is:

1. Testimony in person or testimony previously given, which includes depositions or videotaped depositions.

2. Exhibits admitted into evidence by the court.

3. Stipulations which are agreements between the parties.

4. Any other matter admitted into evidence.

Evidence may be direct or circumstantial. You should not be concerned with these terms since the law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to direct and circumstantial evidence. The weight to be given any evidence is for you to decide.

The following are not evidence:

1. Statements, arguments, questions, and comments by the lawyers.

2. Objections and rulings on objections.

3. Testimony I tell you to disregard.

4. Anything you saw or heard about this case outside the courtroom.

You should not take anything I may say or do during the trial as indicating what I think of the evidence.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 7 - CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES

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, or only part of it, or none of it.

In deciding what testimony to believe, consider the witnesses' intelligence, their opportunity to have seen or heard the things they testify about, their memories, the motives they may have for testifying a certain way, their manner while testifying, whether they said something different at an earlier time, the general reasonableness of their testimony, and the extent to which their testimony is consistent with 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 is an innocent misrecollection or lapse of memory or an intentional falsehood, and that may depend on whether it has to do with an important fact or only a small detail.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 8 - OPINION EVIDENCE--

EXPERT WITNESSES

You will hear testimony from persons described as experts. Persons who have become experts in a field because of their education and experience may give their opinions on maters in that field and the reasons for their opinions. Consider expert testimony just like any other testimony. You may accept it or reject it. You may give it as much weight as you think it deserves, considering the witness's education and experience, the reasons given for the opinion, and all the other evidence in the case.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 9 - STIPULATED FACTS

The plaintiff and defendant have agreed to certain facts and have reduced these facts to a written agreement or stipulation. Any counsel may, throughout the trial, read to you all or a portion of the stipulated facts. You should treat these stipulated facts as having been proved.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 10 - DEPOSITIONS

Certain testimony from a deposition may be read into evidence or played from a videotape. A deposition is testimony taken under oath before the trial and preserved in writing or on videotape. Consider that testimony as if it had been given in court.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 11 - INTERROGATORIES

During this trial, you may hear the word "interrogatory." An interrogatory is a written question asked by one party of another, who must answer it under oath in writing. Consider interrogatories and the answers to them as if the questions had been asked and answered here in court.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 12 - OBJECTIONS

From time to time during the trial I may be called upon to make rulings of law on objections or motions made by the lawyers. It is the duty of the lawyer for each party to object when another party offers testimony or other evidence that the lawyer believes is not properly admissible. You should not show prejudice against a lawyer or the party the lawyer represents because the lawyer has made objections. You should not infer or conclude from any ruling or other comment I may make that I have any opinions on the merits of the case favoring one side or the other. Also, if I sustain an objection to a question that goes unanswered by the witness, you should not draw any inferences or conclusions from the question itself.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 13 - BENCH CONFERENCES

During the trial it may be necessary for me to talk with the lawyers out of your hearing, either by having a bench conference here while you are present in the courtroom, or by calling a recess. Please understand that while you are waiting, we are working. The purpose of these conferences is to decide how certain evidence is to be treated under the rules of evidence, and to avoid confusion and error. We will, of course, do what we can to keep the number and length of these conferences to a minimum.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 14 - NOTE-TAKING

If you want to take notes during the trial, you may. However, it is difficult to take detailed notes and pay attention to what the witnesses are saying. If you do take notes, be sure that your note-taking does not interfere with listening to and considering all of the evidence. Also, if you take notes, do not discuss them with anyone before you begin your deliberations. Do not take your notes with you at the end of the day. Be sure to leave them on your chair in the courtroom. The court attendant will safeguard the notes. No one will read them. The notes will remain confidential throughout the trial and will be destroyed at the conclusion of the trial.

If you choose not to take notes, remember it is your own individual responsibility to listen carefully to the evidence. You cannot give this responsibility to someone who is taking notes. We depend on the judgment of all members of the jury; you must all remember and consider the evidence in this case.

Whether or not you take notes, you should rely on your own memory regarding what was said. Your notes are not evidence. A juror's notes are not more reliable than the memory of another juror who chooses to consider the evidence carefully without taking notes. You should not be overly influenced by the notes.

You will notice that we do have an official court reporter making a record of the trial. However, we will not have typewritten transcripts of this record available for your use in reaching your decision.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 15 - BURDEN OF PROOF

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 of the evidence. To prove something by the greater weight of the evidence is to prove that it is more likely true than not true. It is determined by considering all of the evidence and deciding which evidence is more believable. If, on any issue in the case, the evidence is equally balanced, you cannot find that issue has been proved.

The greater weight of the evidence is not necessarily determined by the greater number of witnesses or exhibits a party has presented. The testimony of a single witness that produces in your mind a belief in the likelihood of truth is sufficient for proof of any fact and would justify a verdict in accordance with such testimony, even though a number of witnesses may have testified to the contrary, if after consideration of all of the evidence in the case, you hold a greater belief in the accuracy and reliability of that one witness.

You may have heard of the term "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." That is a stricter standard which applies in criminal cases. It does not apply in civil cases such as this. You should, therefore, put it out of your minds.



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION NO. 16 - ADMONITION

You will not be required to remain together while court is in recess. However, to ensure fairness, you, as jurors, must obey the following rules:

First, do not talk among yourselves about this case, or about anyone involved with it, until the end of the case when you go to the jury room to decide on your verdict.

Second, do not talk with anyone else about this case, or about anyone involved with it, until the trial has ended and you have been discharged as jurors.

Third, when you are outside the courtroom, do not let anyone tell you anything about the case, or about anyone involved with it until the trial has ended and your verdict has been accepted by me. If someone should try to talk to you about the case during the trial, please report it to me.

Fourth, during the trial you should not talk with or speak to any of the parties, lawyers or witnesses involved in this case--you should not even pass the time of day with any of them. It is important not only that you do justice in this case, but that you also give the appearance of doing justice. If a person from one side of the lawsuit sees you talking to a person from the other side--even if it is simply to pass the time of day--an unwarranted and unnecessary suspicion about your fairness might be aroused. If any lawyer, party, or witness does not speak to you when you pass in the hall, ride the elevator, or the like, remember it is because they are not supposed to talk or visit with you either.

Fifth, do not read any news stories or articles about the case, or about anyone involved with it, or listen to any radio or television reports about the case or about anyone involved with it.

Sixth, do not do any research or make any investigation about the case on your own.

Seventh, do not make up your mind during the trial about what the verdict should be. Keep an open mind until after you have gone to the jury room to decide the case and you and your fellow jurors have discussed the evidence.

DATED this 2nd day of February, 1998.

_____________________________

MARK W. BENNETT

U. S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE





FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 1 - INTRODUCTION

Members of the jury, the instructions I gave you at the beginning of the trial and any oral or written instructions I gave you during the trial remain in effect. I 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. The instructions I am about to give you now, as well as the preliminary instructions given to you at the beginning of the trial, are in writing and will be available to you in the jury room. I emphasize, however, that the final instructions are not more important than the preliminary instructions, nor are written instructions more important than oral ones. Again, all instructions, whenever given and whether in writing or not, must be followed. This is true even though some of the instructions I gave you at the beginning of the trial are not repeated here.

In considering these instructions, the order in which they are given is not important.

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 any opinion or suggestion as to what your verdict should be.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 2 - IMPEACHMENT OF WITNESSES

In Preliminary Instruction No. 7, I instructed you on the credibility of witnesses. I now give you this further instruction on how the credibility of a witness can be "impeached." A witness may be discredited or "impeached" by contradictory evidence, or by evidence that at some time the witness has said or done something, or has failed to say or do something, that is inconsistent with the witness's present testimony. If you believe any witness has been impeached and thus discredited, it is your exclusive province to give the testimony of that witness such credibility, if any, as you may think it deserves.

You have heard evidence that may suggest a witness made statements before this trial while under oath that are inconsistent with what the witness said in this trial. If you find that these statements were made and are inconsistent with testimony at trial, then you may consider these earlier statements as if they were made at this trial. You may then decide whether to consider the earlier statements for any purpose and what weight to give them.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 3 - DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Plaintiff James E. Ahrens's first claim is that the decision of defendant Golden Sun Feeds to terminate him violates the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. The ADA makes it unlawful for an employer to deprive a qualified individual with a disability of an employment opportunity because of that person's disability.

In order to prevail on his claim that he was terminated in violation of the ADA, Mr. Ahrens must prove each of the following essential elements by the greater weight of the evidence:

One, Mr. Ahrens was a qualified person with a disability within the meaning of the ADA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

The term "qualified person with a disability" means an individual with a disability who can perform the essential functions of the employment position the plaintiff holds or desires. A "person with a disability" is one who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of that person, or (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. The impairment must be severe enough to pose substantial limitations on the ability to perform a major life activity, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or working.

The plaintiff contends that he is substantially limited in the major life activity of "working." An individual substantially limited in the major life activity of working need not be totally unable to work in any job. However, the inability to perform a single, particular job also does not constitute a substantial limitation in the major life activity of working. "Substantially limited in the major life activity of working" means significantly restricted in the ability to perform either a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs in various classes as compared to the average person having comparable training, skills, and abilities.

The term "essential functions of an employment position" means the basic, fundamental job duties of the employment position the plaintiff holds or desires. "Essential functions" do not include the marginal functions of the position. A job function may be considered essential for any of several reasons, including but not limited to the following: (1) because the reason the position exists is to perform that function; (2) because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or (3) because the function may be highly specialized so that a person is hired for his expertise or ability to perform that particular function. In determining whether a particular function is essential, you may consider the following: (1) the employer's judgment as to which functions are essential, but you are not bound by the employer's judgment; (2) written job descriptions prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job; (3) the amount of time spent on the job performing the function; (4) the consequences of not requiring the employee to perform the function; (5) the terms of a collective bargaining agreement; (6) the work experience of past incumbents in the job; and/or (7) the current work experience of persons with similar jobs.



Two, Golden Sun Feeds intentionally discriminated against Mr. Ahrens because of his disability, that is, the fact that Mr. Ahrens was disabled was a motivating factor in the decision of Golden Sun Feeds to terminate him.

There may be more than one factor in the decision of Golden Sun Feeds to discharge Mr. Ahrens, and the plaintiff is not required to show that his disability was the sole or primary motivation for that decision. The term "motivating factor" means a consideration that moved a defendant toward its decision or a factor that played a part in its decision.



Three, as a direct result of the intentional discrimination by Golden Sun Feeds, Mr. Ahrens sustained damages.

If Mr. Ahrens has failed to prove any of the above elements by the greater weight of the evidence, then your verdict must be for Golden Sun Feeds on Mr. Ahrens's disability discrimination claim. However, if Mr. Ahrens has proved each element of his claim of disability discrimination, then you will consider Golden Sun Feeds' defense that it could not provide reasonable accommodation to Mr. Ahrens's disability without undue hardship, which is explained in the following instruction.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 4 - UNDUE HARDSHIP DEFENSE

Golden Sun Feeds asserts that it made a good faith effort to reasonably accommodate Mr. Ahrens's disability, if any, but could not do so without undue hardship. To prove this defense, Golden Sun Feeds must prove each of the following elements by the greater weight of the evidence:

One, Mr. Ahrens informed Golden Sun Feeds that he needed reasonable accommodations because of his disability.

Two, Golden Sun Feeds made a good faith effort and consulted with Mr. Ahrens to identify and make a reasonable accommodation that would provide Mr. Ahrens with an equally effective job opportunity.

Under the ADA, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless it can be shown that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the business of the employer. The obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation applies to all aspects of employment, and an employer cannot deny an employment opportunity to a qualified applicant or employee because of the need to provide reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable accommodation is any effective modification or adjustment to the workplace that makes it possible for a person with a disability to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment that are available to any person without a disability. A reasonable accommodation need not be the best accommodation available, nor must it be the one actually requested by the employee.



Three, the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the operation of the business of Golden Sun Feeds.

An employer is not required to make a reasonable accommodation if it would impose an undue hardship on the operation of its business. Undue hardship means significant difficulty or expense incurred by the employer when considered in light of the following: (1) the nature and net cost of the accommodation needed; (2) the overall financial resources of the employer and the number of persons it employs; and (3) the type of business in which the employer is engaged, including the composition, structure, and functions of the employer's work force.



If you find that Golden Sun Feeds has proved each of these elements by the greater weight of the evidence, then you cannot find for Mr. Ahrens on his disability discrimination claim or award damages against Golden Sun Feeds for disability discrimination.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 5 - RETALIATORY DISCHARGE

Plaintiff James E. Ahrens also claims that Golden Sun Feeds fired him in retaliation for filing an administrative claim for workers' compensation benefits with the Iowa Industrial Commissioner, which is a violation of the public policy of the State of Iowa. In order to prevail on his claim of retaliatory discharge, Mr. Ahrens must prove each of the following essential elements by the greater weight of the evidence:

One, Mr. Ahrens was an employee of Golden Sun Feeds.

There is evidence that Mr. Ahrens was an employee at will. An employee at will may be terminated at any time for any reason, except where the reason is contrary to public policy of the state or otherwise violates state or federal law.



Two, Golden Sun Feeds discharged Mr. Ahrens from employment.

Three, Mr. Ahrens's filing of a workers' compensation claim was the determining factor in Golden Sun Feeds' decision to discharge him.

It is against the public policy of the State of Iowa to discharge an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim. To be the "determining factor" in the discharge of the plaintiff, the filing of a workers' compensation claim need not be the main reason behind the decision to fire him; it need only be the reason that tips the scales decisively in favor of discharging him.



Four, the discharge was a proximate cause of damage to Mr. Ahrens.

The conduct of a party is a proximate cause of damage when it is a substantial factor in producing the damage and when the damage would not have happened except for the conduct. "Substantial" means the party's conduct has such an effect in producing the damage as to lead a reasonable person to regard it as a cause.



Five, the nature and extent of the damage caused by the retaliatory discharge.

If Mr. Ahrens has failed to prove any of these essential elements of his retaliatory discharge claim, then he is not entitled to damages on this claim. However, if he has proved all of these essential elements, then he is entitled to damages in some amount.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 6 - ACTUAL DAMAGES

If you find in favor of Mr. Ahrens on either his claim of disability discrimination or his claim of retaliatory discharge, or both, then you may award the following kinds of actual damages, as proved by the greater weight of the evidence:

Backpay. "Backpay" is also called "lost past earnings." You may award as actual damages an amount that reasonably compensates the plaintiff for any lost wages and benefits, taking into consideration any increases in salary and benefits, including pension, that the plaintiff would have received between the date of his termination and the date of trial had he not been discriminated or retaliated against. Basically, you have the ability to make the plaintiff whole for any wages or other benefits that he has lost as a result of his unlawful termination. However, you should deduct from this sum the value of whatever wages and fringe benefits the plaintiff has obtained from other employment during this period. However, you should not deduct unemployment compensation from your backpay award, as unemployment compensation is considered under the law to be an earned benefit.

A plaintiff has a duty under the law to "mitigate" his damages--that is, to exercise reasonable diligence under the circumstances to minimize his damages. Therefore, if you find by the greater weight of the evidence that the plaintiff failed to seek out or take advantage of an employment opportunity that was reasonably available to him, you must reduce his damages by the amount of the wages and fringe benefits he reasonably would have earned if he had sought out or taken advantage of such an opportunity.

Emotional distress. You may also award damages as reasonable compensation for any fears, anxiety, or other emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff because of the defendant's conduct in discriminating or retaliating against him. No definite method of calculation is prescribed by law by which to determine the reasonable compensation for emotional distress. Nor is the opinion of any witness required about the amount of reasonable compensation for emotional distress. In making an award for emotional distress, you must exercise your authority with calm and reasonable judgment, and the damages you award must be just and reasonable in light of the evidence.

If you have found in favor of Mr. Ahrens on his claim of retaliatory discharge, then in addition to the actual damages described above, you may also award him "frontpay." However, you may not award frontpay as damages for disability discrimination.

Frontpay. "Frontpay" is also called "lost future earnings." You may award as actual damages for retaliatory discharge the amount of any future wages and fringe benefits that the plaintiff has proved by the greater weight of the evidence he would reasonably have earned in his employment from the date of your verdict until the time you find the plaintiff should reasonably be able to obtain employment with pay and responsibilities equivalent to the pay and responsibilities he had as an employee of Golden Sun Feeds, minus the amount of earnings and benefits he will receive from other employment during that time. An award of future damages, such as frontpay, must be reduced to "present value." "Present value" is a sum of money paid now in advance which, together with interest earned at a reasonable rate of return, will compensate the plaintiff for future losses.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 7 - PUNITIVE DAMAGES

The law allows, but does not require, you to award punitive damages in addition to actual damages for disability discrimination or retaliatory discharge. Therefore, if you find that Mr. Ahrens has proved either a claim of disability discrimination or a claim of retaliatory discharge, or both, you must consider what, if any, punitive damages you should award. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the plaintiff for an injury, but are instead awarded in the jury's discretion to punish a defendant and to deter the defendant and others like it from the same or similar conduct in the future. However, the way in which you will determine whether or not to award punitive damages depends upon which claim you are considering.

Punitive damages for disability discrimination. Punitive damages are awarded for disability discrimination in violation of the ADA in the jury's discretion to punish a defendant for acting with malice or with reckless indifference to a plaintiff's rights. Therefore, in order to award Mr. Ahrens punitive damages for disability discrimination, you must find, by the greater weight of the evidence, that the acts or omissions of Golden Sun Feeds were done with malice or reckless indifference to Mr. Ahrens's federally protected rights to be free from intentional disability discrimination.

In deciding on the amount of punitive damages, if any, for disability discrimination, you should consider how offensive Golden Sun Feeds' conduct was; what amount is needed, considering the defendant's financial condition, to punish it for its wrongful conduct toward the plaintiff and to prevent a repetition of that wrongful conduct in the future; whether the amount of punitive damages bears a reasonable relationship to the actual damages you have awarded; and what sum is sufficient to deter other similar employers from wrongful conduct in the future.

Punitive damages for retaliatory discharge. Punitive damages may be awarded under Iowa law on a claim of retaliatory discharge if the plaintiff has proved by the greater weight of clear, convincing, and satisfactory evidence that the defendant's conduct constituted a willful and wanton disregard for the rights or safety of another and caused actual damages to the plaintiff. Evidence is clear, convincing, and satisfactory if there is no serious or substantial uncertainty about the conclusion to be drawn from it. There is no exact rule under Iowa law to determine the amount of punitive damages, if any, you should award. In determining the amount of punitive damages, however, you may consider all of the evidence, including the following: the nature of the defendant's conduct; the amount of punitive damages that will punish and discourage like conduct by the defendant in view of its financial condition; and the plaintiff's actual damages.

You should determine the amount of any punitive damages award using calm discretion and sound reasoning. You must not be influenced by sympathy for or dislike of any party in the case.



FINAL INSTRUCTION NO. 8 - DELIBERATIONS

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

Finally, I am giving you the verdict forms. A 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 verdicts, your foreperson will fill in the form and date it, all jurors will sign it, and the foreperson will advise the Court Security Officer that you are ready to return to the courtroom.

DATED this ___ day of February, 1998.



_____________________________

MARK W. BENNETT

U. S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE





IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA

CENTRAL DIVISION

JAMES E. AHRENS,
Plaintiff, No. C 96-3028-MWB
vs. VERDICT FORM
GOLDEN SUN FEEDS, INC.,
Defendant.

____________________



Note: Please answer each question in order unless directed otherwise based on your answer to a particular question.



I. LIABILITY

A. Disability Discrimination

Question No. 1: On the claim of disability discrimination, as explained in Final Instruction No. 3 and Final Instruction No. 4, in whose favor do you find?

Plaintiff James E. Ahrens _____ OR Defendant Golden Sun Feeds _____



B. Retaliatory Discharge

Question No. 2: On the claim of retaliatory discharge, as explained in Final Instruction No. 5, in whose favor do you find?

Plaintiff James E. Ahrens _____ OR Defendant Golden Sun Feeds _____



Note: If you found in favor of defendant Golden Sun Feeds in answer to both Question No. 1 and Question No. 2, do not answer any more questions. Instead, sign the verdict form and have your foreperson notify the Court Security Officer that you have reached a verdict. However, if you found in favor of plaintiff James E. Ahrens in answer to Question No. 1, Question No. 2, or both, please go on to the next section to answer questions concerning damages.



II. DAMAGES

A. Actual Damages

Question No. 3: If you found in favor of plaintiff James E. Ahrens in answer to Question No. 1, Question No. 2, or both, what amount, if any, of actual damages do you award for each of the following, as actual damages were explained to you in Final Instruction No. 6?

a. Backpay $ _______________

b. Emotional distress $ _______________



Note: As explained in Final Instruction No. 6, you may award frontpay damages only if you found in favor of Mr. Ahrens on his claim of retaliatory discharge in answer to Question No. 2. Therefore, if you found in favor of Golden Sun Feeds, Inc., in answer to Question No. 2, do not answer Question No. 3. Instead, go on to the questions on punitive damages, beginning with Question No. 4. However, if you found in favor of Mr. Ahrens on his claim of retaliatory discharge in answer to Question No. 2, please answer the next question.





Question No. 4: What amount, if any, do you award as frontpay damages for retaliatory discharge as frontpay damages were explained to you in Final Instruction No. 6?

$ ________________





B. Punitive Damages



Note: Answer Question No. 5 only if you found in favor of Mr. Ahrens on his disability discrimination claim in answer to Question No. 1.



Question No. 5: What amount, if any, do you award as punitive damages for disability discrimination, as punitive damages on this claim were explained to you in Final Instruction No. 7?

$ ________________



Note: Answer Question No. 6 only if you found in favor of Mr. Ahrens on his retaliatory discharge claim in answer to Question No. 2.



Question No. 6: As to punitive damages on the claim of retaliatory discharge, as punitive damages were explained to you in Final Instruction No. 7,

a. Do you find by the greater weight of clear, convincing, and satisfactory evidence that the conduct of the defendant constituted willful and wanton disregard for the rights or safety of another?

Yes ______ No ______

Note: If your answer to Question No. 6.a. is "No," do not answer the remaining questions. Instead, sign the verdict form and have your foreperson notify the Court Security Officer that you have reached a verdict. However, if your answer to Question No. 6 was "Yes," please go on to the next question.



b. What amount, if any, do you award as punitive damages for retaliatory discharge, as punitive damages on this claim were explained to you in Final Instruction No. 7?

$ ________________

Note: If your answer to Question No. 6.b. is "None," do not answer the remaining question. Instead, sign the verdict form and have your foreperson notify the Court Security Officer that you have reached a verdict. However, if you awarded punitive damages in some amount in answer to Question No. 6.b., please go on to the next question.



c. Was the conduct of the defendant directed specifically at plaintiff James E. Ahrens?

Yes ______ No ______





Date: ________________



____________________________

FOREPERSON



____________________________ ____________________________

JUROR JUROR



____________________________ ____________________________

JUROR JUROR



____________________________ ____________________________

JUROR JUROR



____________________________

JUROR