Jury foreman John H. Firmage said the jury did not err when it checked a box on the verdict form, but jurors did not realize it would deprive plaintiff Debra Retherford of her $612,000 award.
Retherford has been seeking to have the verdict overturned on the ground the verdict form was incorrectly marked. Her attorney, Ken-neth B. Grimes, filed affidavits from all eight jurors indicating they intended for her to get the money.However, Firmage said that when jurors were asked if Retherford's harassment claim against AT&T was barred because she waited too long to assert it, the jury voted yes.
"I made no mistake or clerical error in answering yes to that question," the foreman said in a new affidavit. "I did not understand, and I don't believe that the other members of the jury understood, the legal effect of voting yes."
The answer meant Retherford's claim was void, and she collects nothing from AT&T.
A jury's answers cannot be changed because its members didn't like or understand the legal ramifications, argues Richard M. Hymas, attorney for AT&T.
The jury found AT&T was negligent in supervising Retherford's co-workers in 1984 and 1985. Retherford claimed she was retaliated against because she had earlier filed a sexual-harassment complaint against another operator.