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LANE v. JEFFERSON HEALTH CARE

August 31, 1978

John L. LANE, Jr.
v.
JEFFERSON HEALTH CARE, INC. and Thomas Jefferson University



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRODERICK

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff, John L. Lane, Jr., brought this action against Jefferson Health Care, Inc. ("JHCI") and Thomas Jefferson University following his discharge from the position of Director of Administrative Services for JHCI. Plaintiff contended that he had been discharged because of his race; he is black. *fn1"

 At the conclusion of an eleven day trial, the jury returned a verdict against the plaintiff and in favor of the two defendants. The ensuing judgment was filed with the Clerk of the Court on November 7, 1977 and entered in the docket on the following day, November 8, 1977. Plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial on November 18, 1977. *fn2" On December 7, 1977, plaintiff filed a notice of appeal which was, by stipulation of the parties, dismissed without prejudice on June 22, 1978. Thus, we may now consider plaintiff's motion for a new trial.

 In his motion for a new trial, plaintiff sets forth the following nine grounds *fn3" which he contends entitle him to a new trial:

 
"1. The verdict is contrary to law.
 
"2. The verdict is contrary to the evidence.
 
"3. The evidence adduced at the trial thereof was sufficient to sustain the allegations that there was discrimination on the part of the defendants in their termination of the plaintiff's employment.
 
"4. The verdict of the jury herein was contrary to the weight of the evidence and in violation of the substantial rights of the plaintiff by the obvious lack of proper deliberation and understanding by members of the jury.
 
"5. The court refused to allow proper cross examination of several witnesses by the counsel for the plaintiff, thereby denying the plaintiff a proper opportunity to impeach the testimony of the following witnesses:
 
Robert Heigler, Robert Russell, Robert P. Gilbert.
 
These actions prejudiced the substantial rights of the plaintiff and denied him the opportunity for a fair verdict.
 
"7. The substantial rights of the plaintiff were prejudiced by the jury's failure to render a verdict responsive to instructions given by the court. Had the jurors followed the law applicable to the evidence introduced in the trial of the above action they would have reached a verdict for the plaintiff.
 
"8. The court erred in its refusal to allow the testimony of Mary K. Laird and Gary Martin, both of whom would have testified as to matters which were relevant, competent, material and admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The exclusion of such evidence, which would have shown that the defendants knew of and reacted to the desires of the Grays Ferry Community and its leaders, to have a Caucasian ...

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