plaintiff's employment with JHCI. (N.T. 9-143). The situation worsened in 1975 when plaintiff's relationship with much of the staff at JHCI began to deteriorate (N.T. 9-18) and many of the jobs for which he was responsible were left undone or in a state of disarray. (N.T. 5-118; 8-58; 9-55; 9-91; 9-146; 9-148). In June, 1975, Dr. Gilbert informed the plaintiff that if he did not resign he would be fired. Dr. Gilbert testified that he reached the decision to terminate the plaintiff because plaintiff had "done an incompetent job as an administrator" (N.T. 9-164) and that plaintiff's race had not entered into the decision. (N.T. 9-165). Plaintiff's termination became effective on July 31, 1975. (N.T. 3-30).
The plaintiff's cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981 was submitted to the jury and we find that the evidence was amply sufficient for the jury to answer the following interrogatory in the negative: "Has the plaintiff established by a preponderance of the evidence that he was discriminated against because of his race and that this racial discrimination was a proximate cause of his discharge?"
II. Cross-Examination of Defendants' Witnesses.
Plaintiff contends that the Court improperly curtailed his cross-examination of defendants' witnesses thereby denying him the opportunity to impeach the testimony of the following witnesses: Ronald Heigler, Robert Russell and Robert Gilbert. While a trial court has the discretionary power to limit the scope of cross-examination, Smith v. State of Illinois, 390 U.S. 129, 132, 88 S. Ct. 748, 19 L. Ed. 2d 956 (1968); United States v. Dansker, 537 F.2d 40, 60 (3d Cir. 1976); Cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 97 S. Ct. 732, 50 L. Ed. 2d 748 (1977); Goehring v. Diamond Mill Co., 461 F.2d 77, 79 (3d Cir. 1972), the plaintiff was given wide latitude in his cross-examination of defendants' witnesses.
The plaintiff has not called the Court's attention to any specific instances where the Court denied the plaintiff the opportunity to impeach the testimony of Ronald Heigler, Robert Russell or Robert Gilbert. Our review of the record discloses that the cross-examination of Mr. Russell was not limited in any manner. In one instance the Court did limit the cross-examination of both Dr. Gilbert and Mr. Heigler in connection with questions concerning racial unrest in the Grays Ferry area which had no relevancy to plaintiff's allegations of racial discrimination against the defendants.
III. Closing Arguments.
Plaintiff contends that counsel for defendants resorted to improper, inflammatory and prejudicial statements in their closing arguments by "expressly and implicitly suggest(ing) that (plaintiff) suffered delusions and aberrations and that he was not in touch with reality." Plaintiff does not point out to the Court those portions of the defendants' closing arguments which "expressly and implicitly suggested that (plaintiff) suffered delusions and aberrations and that he was not in touch with reality." Counsel for JHCI did argue that the alleged discrimination was "just in (plaintiff's) mind." (N.T. 10-136). However, at no time during the closing was any objection made by the plaintiff to such references. In view of the evidence presented to the jury, we find that the closing argument was neither inflammatory nor prejudicial.
IV. Excluded Testimony of Mary K. Laird and Gary Martin.
Plaintiff contends that the Court erred in not permitting Mary K. Laird and Gary Martin to testify. Prior to the testimony of Gary Martin, the defendants requested an offer of proof. Plaintiff stated that Gary Martin was employed with the Pennsylvania Commission on Human Relations. He investigated the "John Lane situation and . . . attended the discharge hearing . . . (and) made notes of the entire transaction. . . . " (N.T. 6-8). Plaintiff stated that the purpose of this testimony would be to attack the credibility of Dr. Gilbert. (N.T. 6-11). The Court pointed out that Dr. Gilbert had not yet testified and that it would be improper to attack his credibility as a witness prior to his testimony. Although the Court ruled only that Gary Martin would not be permitted to testify at that point in the trial (N.T. 6-14), plaintiff made no attempt to introduce his testimony after Dr. Gilbert had testified.
Prior to the testimony of Mary K. Laird, the defendants again requested an offer of proof. Plaintiff stated that Mary K. Laird was employed by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, and that she would testify about ongoing incidents where blacks were treated in a discriminatory manner in the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia. The plaintiff contended that, because of the hostility toward blacks in the Grays Ferry area, certain black employees at JHCI were terminated. The Court ruled that it would listen to Mary K. Laird out of the presence of the jury in order to determine whether her testimony concerning racial discrimination in the Grays Ferry area was in any manner relevant to the defendants' alleged racial discrimination against the plaintiff. It was the Court's position that testimony concerning racial discrimination in the Grays Ferry area would be prejudicial to the defendants in the absence of some evidence connecting it with the defendants' alleged racial discrimination. (N.T. 6-16 to 19).
The Court heard Mary K. Laird's testimony out of the presence of the jury and her testimony revealed that there was no link or connection between discrimination in the Grays Ferry area and the alleged racial discrimination by the defendants. The Court ruled, therefore, that Mary K. Laird would not be permitted to testify before the jury concerning racial problems in the Grays Ferry area. She was, however, permitted to testify concerning conversations which she had with Dr. Gilbert considered by the Court to be relevant to the racial attitudes of the defendants. (N.T. 7-75 to 78). We see no error in connection with these rulings.
V. Mr. Lane's College Grades.
Finally, plaintiff contends that the Court erred in permitting the defendant to cross-examine the plaintiff concerning his grades at college on the ground that such cross-examination was irrelevant and immaterial.
A review of the record reveals that the plaintiff did not make such an objection. (N.T. 4-135 to 137). Moreover, we find that this testimony was within the scope of proper cross-examination, not only on the basis of plaintiff's direct testimony, but for the additional reason that the cross-examination of a party is not limited to his direct testimony. Rivers v. Union Carbide Corp., 426 F.2d 633, 639 (3d Cir. 1970).
Also before the Court are defendants' motions for attorneys' fees pursuant to the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Award Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988, which provides in pertinent part:
In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of (section) 1981 . . . (or) 1983 . . . of this title . . . the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party . . . a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs.
In Christiansburg Garment Co. v. E.E.O.C., 434 U.S. 412, 98 S. Ct. 694, 54 L. Ed. 2d 648 (1978), the Supreme Court recently addressed the circumstances under which attorney's fees should be awarded to a prevailing defendant in a Title VII action.
The Court stated:
A district court may in its discretion award attorney's fees to a prevailing defendant in a Title VII case upon a finding that the plaintiff's action was frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation . . . .