Court to Decide if Punitives Award Can Stand Without Key Jury Charge

October 25, 2012 – In The News
New Jersey Law Journal
The state Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on whether a $650,000 sexual harassment verdict, including $500,000 in punitive damages, should be reversed because the trial judge failed to instruct the jury that wrongful conduct on the part of upper management need be shown. A Mercer County jury awarded the damages to former saleswoman Doreen Longo, after finding that she was subjected to sexual harassment while working for the company, East Coast News Corp. and its subsidiary, Pleasure Productions Inc., and fired in retaliation after she complained. A divided Appellate Division panel upheld the verdict, with one dissenter finding that omission of the instruction was error because it was not clear that upper management was complicit in the wrongful conduct.