Holmes v. American Home Patient/Lincare

A jury in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania returned a verdict of $20,500,000 against American Home Patient/Lincare in a racial discrimination case arising out of its State College, Pennsylvania location. The 8 person jury awarded Patricia Holmes $500,000 in compensatory damages and $20 Million in punitive damages. It found that American Home Patient/Lincare, by and through its employees, including a manager, intentionally discriminated against Ms. Holmes by creating a hostile or abusive work environment because of her race in violation of federal law (Title 42, United States Code, Section 1981.)

Evidence at trial included testimony that during the approximately 10 months that Ms. Holmes, a black woman, was employed as the only black person in that location, employees in the office, including a manager, engaged in racially discriminatory behavior. This behavior included the use of the “N” word, references to the Ku Klux Klan, and use of the term “coonie.” Employees of the defendant conceded that they knew that engaging in racially discriminatory conduct was in violation of federal law. Tom Anderson of the Pittsburgh office of Bordas & Bordas served as trial counsel for the plaintiff.