Defendant-appellant/cross-appellee Federated Department Stores, Inc. ("Federated") appeals from a judgment entered on December 4, 1989, after a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Knapp, J.). The jury found Federated liable to plaintiff-appellee/cross-appellant Jason B. Gardner for injuries arising from false imprisonment and battery by Federated's security personnel and awarded compensatory damages of $150,000 for deprivation of liberty and $150,000 for past pain and suffering. The jury also assessed punitive damages of $1,500,000 against Federated. Gardner cross-appeals from so much of the judgment as remitted all but $10,000 of the $500,000 in compensatory damages separately awarded by the jury for future pain and suffering.
On appeal, Federated contends that the punitive damages award cannot be sustained because there was no evidence that the misconduct was perpetrated, authorized or ratified by a "superior officer" of the defendant corporation. It also contends that the compensatory damages awarded for deprivation of liberty and past pain and suffering are excessive. On cross-appeal, Gardner argues that Judge Knapp's order of remittitur was improper.
We find that the evidence is insufficient to support a finding that the misconduct was committed, authorized or ratified by an individual vested with managerial authority and accordingly reverse that portion of the judgment awarding plaintiff punitive damages. We also find that $150,000 for the deprivation of liberty involved in the instant case is excessive and remand for a new trial on that issue, subject to acceptance of a remittitur. We affirm the damages award of $150,000 for past pain and suffering. As to the cross-appeal, Gardner's acceptance of the remittitur precludes an appeal from that portion of the judgment, and we therefore dismiss the cross-appeal.
Miner, Roger J., "Gardner v. Federated Dept. Stores, Inc., 907 F. 2d 1348 - Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1990" (1990). Circuit Court Opinions. 251.