The New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a verdict in favor of former corrections officer Shelley Pritchett, on April 24, 2020

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Costello & Mains, LLC is please to announce that the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a verdict in favor of former corrections officer Shelley Pritchett, on April 24, 2020, to whom a jury awarded an approximately $11.8 million verdict against the New Jersey Department of Corrections in June of 2017.

The New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a verdict in favor of former corrections officer Shelley Pritchett, on April 24, 2020, to whom a jury awarded an approximately $11.8 million verdict against the New Jersey Department of Corrections in June of 2017.

That jury found that the Department of Corrections discriminated against Ms. Pritchett after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The jury also found the Department failed to provide her with a reasonable accommodation due to the diagnosis. The jury awarded Ms. Pritchett over $1.8 million in economic damages and emotional distress, and $10 million in punitive damages.

The Appellate Division upheld the verdict both as to liability and as to damages. In the Court’s opinion, it rejected the State’s argument that the punitive damage award was excessive, reasoning that the “punitive damages award in this case was a single-digit multiplier of the compensatory award, less than 7:1, making it more likely to comport with due process…”. The Court did remand the case back to the Trial Court for “further proceedings on the quantum of punitive damages.” The case docket is Docket No. A-001956-17.

“We’re all very proud of the work of partners Drake P. Bearden, Jr., whose inspired advocacy resulted in this verdict, and Deborah L, Mains, whose brilliant and insightful advocacy and brief work, on appeal, so thoroughly protected our client’s result,” offers partner Kevin Costello. “Justice has been done, and our fight for Ms. Pritchett will continue.”

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Jennifer Keltos

Jennifer L Keltos
Costello & Mains, LLC
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