Judge Overturns Jury Award For Miami Beach Firefighter
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami Beach firefighter who successfully sued the city for sexual harassment and was awarded $700,000 by a jury will now have to fight for it.
On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke overruled the jury’s decision and found that Marlenis Smart’s treatment did not meet the legal definition of sexual harassment, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
Smart sued the city in 2010. In her suit she cited several inappropriate or offensive actions by other fighters towards her. She said they called her derogatory names, walked in on her while she was showering and one time found a missing bathing suit stained with semen.
“The few, single occurring instances of sex or gender-based harassment Plaintiff (Smart) suffered is simply legally insufficient to maintain a sexual harassment claim under Eleventh Circuit precedent,” said Miami Beach city attorney Jose Smith after Judge Cooke’s ruling. “Consequently, this jury was without a legal sufficient evidentiary basis to find for Ms. Smart on this issue.”
Apparently Judge Cook agreed.
“The incidents Ms. Smart identifies were single-occurring instances that, while inappropriate, vulgar, and offensive, were not severe. Given that there were three to four incidents over a five-year period, it certainly was not pervasive,” Cooke wrote.
Smith went on to say that if the appellate court were to reverse Judge Cooke’s Judgment, she would grant the city a new trial to “prevent a miscarriage of justice”.
Smart reportedly will appeal Judge Cooke’s decision.
Last month Smart filed another lawsuit against the city claiming her civil rights had been violated because she was retaliated against and the city intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed this report