Robert Haist v. Rohr, Inc., a subsidiary of B.F. Goodrich Industries.
Mr. Haist is a Maintenance Mechanic for Rohr. He had worked there 28 years when he was accused of stealing on three separate occasions over a 16 month period.
Mr. Haist was wrongly charged with these crimes in public; he was ridiculed and humiliated. After the latter charge, Mr. Haist was suspended with pay. Rohr “investigated” each accusation, could find no wrong, but didn’t bother apologizing to Mr. Haist or clearing his name.
At trial, Mr. Haist had not suffered any economic loss. He was back at work. Rohr was represented by Littler Mendelson and Greg Sindici, a seasoned labor attorney. Rohr was not interested in settling.
Josh faced a long line of hurdles. High hurdles. His first was privilege. He had to show malice to clear hurdle number one. He did so by calling Mr. Haist’s Manager under Evidence Code § 776 and having the manager testify about what a hard working and nice man Mr. Haist was. Then Josh put on another witness who testified that this manager called Haist a “thief, and he’s lazy.” Josh then explained to the jury that the only reason why the manager would say nice things about the plaintiff at trial was to get the jury to think there was no “malice” between them. Josh had no time to catch his breath on landing, for he had to jump over “no damage.” He did so in voir dire by standing up and asking if any of them “would trade their good reputations for $500,000.” He tried the case on the value of one ’s good name.
Josh talked with the jury, not down to them. He used analogies from his family effectively. He told the jury of his father’s retirement party, of how proud his dad was, how honored and thrilled. Rohr had stolen the party from Mr. Haist’s retirement.
Mr. Haist would never receive the recognition he had earned. The jury heard Josh’s words. He made Mr. Haist’s pain real.
Josh gave the jury very specific reasons to justify making things right for Mr. Haist. The jury talked to both Mr. Haist and Josh afterward, and told them they wanted Mr. Haist to use the money they made the defendant pay for the reasons Josh cited.
Josh convinced the jury Rohr’s acts were malicious. He gave the jury soundly reasoned points that guided them to a finding of malice.