On April 18, 2014 a federal court jury in Jackson rendered a plaintiffs’ verdict in the total amount of $271,200 in Smith v. Tower Automotive Operations USA.

The two plaintiffs were white employees of Tower Automotive in Meridian. The two plaintiffs alleged that they were fired in retaliation for their complaints about racist remarks about African-Americans made by a white supervisor in connection with a local jazz festival.

The statements included: “Can you imagine all the chicken and barbeque ribs that will be eaten at this thing?” and “You know all them brothers have got to have their barbeque.”

Tower argued that the plaintiffs filed a false report against a supervisor because he reported them for sleeping on the job. Just a hunch here, but my guess is that the jury didn’t buy Tower’s argument.

The jury rendered a verdict of $132,400 for Jody Smith and $138,800 for Joshua Carney.

Jim Waide and Rachel Waide with Waide & Associates represented the plaintiffs. Karen Clay and Jerry Shivers with the Kullman firm in Jackson represented the defendants.

District Judge Carlton Reeves presided in the case.