On January 27, 2016 a Lee County jury (County Court) returned a plaintiff verdict of $85,891 in Nguyen v. Dao.

The plaintiff worked for Dao at the Ichiban Japanese Grill in Tupelo. She alleged that she was fired for reporting illegal activity and that she was not paid properly under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The jury agree.

The jury rendered a verdict for the following damages:

  • $1,943- lost income because of discharge for reporting illegal activity
  • $50,000- mental anxiety
  • $33,948- violation of Fair Labor Standards Act.

The jury also found for the plaintiff on a counter-claim of malicious prosecution filed by one of the defendants. The trial judge declined to submit the issue of punitive damages to the jury. The judgement also included 8% post judgment interest.

Here is the final judgment.

Jim Waide and Rachel Pierce Waide of Waide & Associates in Tupelo represented the plaintiff. Jonathan Martin of Tupelo represented the defendants. County Judge Charles Brett presided in the case.

My advice:

Don’t wear anything you like to one of those Japanese steakhouse places where they cook in front of you. They get little specks of grease all over your clothes.

  • Big R

    I would never file an FLSA claim (particularly one with a retaliation claim) in state court. In the Fifth Circuit, statutes that divide trials for punitive damages are procedural, and thus are not applied. The jury would have heard all my punitive damages evidence in the liability phase.

    • Gulf Stream

      I think it’s debatable whether the 5th Circuit will allow punitive damages in FLSA retaliation cases. To my knowledge, there is no clear decision either way. They seem to duck it every time it comes up. Some of the District Courts have flatly stated that punitive and emotional distress damages are unavailable.

  • Nick Norris

    That is a great verdict for a Lee county jury. The total verdict will mostly be around 160k after liquidated damages and attorney fees are added.