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Court upholds jury verdict against employee who alleged retaliatory discharge following work-related injury

Cuddington v. United Health Services, Inc., involved a claim by the plaintiff that he was fired after making a work-related injury claim in violation of the workers compensation act.  Cuddington called his employer on the morning after a car accident and reported that he would not be coming in to work, due to injuries he had received.  He was immediately fired.  Since the accident had occurred while he was on duty, he argued that his firing was illegal retaliation for making a work-related injury claim.  The case went to a jury trial, and the verdict was in the employer's favor.   Cuddington appealed.

The plaintiff argued that the trial judge's jury instructions mis-stated the applicable law and confused jurors with regard to Cuddington's rights under the workers compensation statute. He also argued that the weight of the evidence supported overturning the verdict.  The Court of Appeals acknowledged that his arguments about the weight of the evidence had merit, but nevertheless affirmed the jury verdict.  It held that a court may not "reverse a jury verdict ...simply because [it may] view the facts differently than did the jurors."

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