stare decisis requires that I apply Bradley and its progeny to the 1991 Act.
C. Application of the Presumption
As stated earlier, the Bradley presumption of retroactivity does not apply if there is clear legislative intent to the contrary or if retroactivity would result in a manifest injustice. Section II.A. of this opinion explains why this court has concluded that there is no clear legislative intent with respect to the retroactivity of the 1991 Act. Therefore, the Bradley presumption in favor of retroactivity will apply in this case unless it would result in a manifest injustice.
The Bradley court identified three factors which must be considered when determining whether a manifest injustice will result from the retroactive application of a statute: (i) the nature and identity of the parties; (ii) the rights affected; and (iii) the impact of the change in law on the preexisting rights. 416 U.S. at 717. After considering these factors, I conclude that a manifest injustice would not result from the retroactive application to this case of the relevant changes in Title VII law under the 1991 Act.
Under the first Bradley factor, the court should determine whether this litigation is essentially private or public. In making this determination, the court must weigh the nature of both the parties and the issues to be decided. If public entities are involved or the case centers on a matter of great national concern, retroactive application is appropriate. Like the school board in Bradley, this case involves a public entity defendant. PAT is a public authority receiving taxpayer money. The public has long had an interest in knowing that its limited funds are not being spent to further a pattern of employment discrimination based on gender bias. Therefore, the nature of the parties alone elevates this above the "routine private lawsuit." Bradley, 416 U.S. at 718. In addition, the 1991 Act, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is intended to promote equality in our nation and provide a remedy for discrimination. Sex discrimination in the work place, in particular, has received considerable national attention during the past year. Thus, I find that the nature of the issues in this case justify retroactive application of the relevant amendments.
The second Bradley factor for the court to consider is the nature of the rights involved. The question here is whether application of the new law "would infringe upon or deprive a person of a right that had matured or become unconditional." Bradley, 416 U.S. at 720. It is hard to imagine what matured right of the defendants may be affected by the 1991 Act's expansion of Title VII remedies in this case. Plaintiff merely seeks to collect the full range of remedies now available under the 1991 Act to make her whole. Certainly defendants did not have a matured "right" to expect that their discrimination, if proved, would result in a certain set of remedies. Because the relevant changes to the law in the 1991 Act affect only the level of damages rather than the legality of the questioned conduct, it is entirely fair to apply these changes to this pending matter.
The third Bradley factor requires the court to weigh the impact of the relevant change in law upon the preexisting rights of the defendants. Put differently, this factor concerns "the possibility that new and unanticipated obligations may be imposed upon a party without notice or an opportunity to be heard." Bradley, 416 U.S. at 720. Here again, there is no unfair surprise to the defendants. With respect to damages, the only change in the trial of this case necessitated by the new law will be the nature of the evidence presented by the plaintiff.
Under both the old law and the new law, PAT had every reason to expect that its alleged behavior would result in a federal lawsuit.
After considering the nature of this litigation, the rights affected and the impact of the 1991 Act on those rights, I conclude that no manifest injustice will result if plaintiff is permitted to seek those compensatory damages allowed by § 102 of the 1991 Act.
An appropriate order will follow.
Date: May 22, 1992
Timothy K. Lewis
United States District Judge
AND NOW, this 22nd day of May, 1992, upon consideration of defendants' motion in limine to strike plaintiff's claim for emotional distress and to exclude all evidence offered in support of plaintiff's damage claim for emotional distress, filed at Document No. 40, and argument advanced in support thereof and in opposition thereto,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendants' motion is DENIED.
Timothy K. Lewis
United States District Judge