Jury verdict of exemplary damages for laid-off school carpenter is upheld
Robert Adair was the union representative at Utica Community Schools. When the school experienced fiscal difficulties, he was laid-off because he was lowest on the seniority list. He argued, however, that his service as the union steward on the afternoon shift provided him seniority protection. Allegedly, neither the school nor the Union gave serious consideration to his claim, and he filed a damage suit alleging denial of his right to fair representation. Ultimately Adair secured a jury verdict of $225,000.00 in exemplary damages against the Utica Skilled Trades Association. The Court of Appeals upheld the basic award, but determined that the additional $10,000.00 in damages awarded for mental anguish was redundant and overturned that element of the verdict.