Morgan V. New York Life Insurance Co

Morgan V. New York Life Insurance Co is a case pitting Tommy G. Morgan against New York Life. Tommy advanced age discrimination charges citing Ohio Civil Rights Act, R.C & 4112. The case was argued on 12th September 2009, at Cleveland County District Court. The jury determined the case in favor of Tommy, and he was awarded $6,000,000 as compensation, a decision that New York Life refuted citing four reasons which included the fact that the court denied them a chance to provide legitimate business justifications regarding termination of Tommy. New York Life advanced that the court factored in age discrimination allegations by Tommy that were not applicable during his termination. The court did not offer the company jury instruction regarding statements of alleged age animus, and lastly, the court awarded Tommy damages that were excessive and did not conform to the due process.

This essay provides the background decision regarding the aforementioned case and decision arrived at thereof.

In this case, Tommy filed a case against New York Life alleging that the company had discriminated against him based on sex. Tommy alleged that the company had improperly dismissed him and employed a much younger manager basing on facts that could not be substantiated. In addition, Morgan notes that the company was basing his age to advance the charges for his dismissal, and this includes the fact that he did not meet the company’s targets of performance bestowed on him. According to Aspen Publishers (2011), the NYL advances that Morgan failed to meet targets in various categories, such as new organizational growth, hiring and retaining of labor, life production, and actual office growth versus target income. NYL indicates that it employed its Growth Profitability and Accountability in measuring of Morgan’s performance that indicated Morgan’s failure in one of the categories in subsequent years, which affected the company’s performance. On the other hand, Morgan alleges that he met or surpassed his targets in some of the categories, which the company refuted citing that the alleged success by Morgan was advanced as gifts to the company.

In his own defense, Morgan cited the company’s dismal performance five years prior to his arrival, which he claimed improved significantly on his arrival at the company, thus explaining the high salary he earned between 2000 and 2003. Subsequently, Morgan advances that some events beyond his capability happened soon after that rendered the company’s performance dismal and these include the fact that Barrett Weinberger, a partner of the company, became disabled, which affected the agent’s performance from $ 600,000 to zero. Another reason cited by Morgan is the embezzling of $ 5 million belonging to NYL clients by Jack Guttman. Aspen Publishers (2011) indicate that NYL responded to the above situation with a Performance Warning letter to Morgan, which indicates a violation of the company’s protocol in dealing with non-performing managerial partners. The company alleges that Morgan was not eligible for an alert basing on his performance that was evaluated at the end of the year. According to the United States Court of Appeals (2012), a final notice was forwarded to Morgan since his performance did not reflect the company’s goals. 

However, it should be noted that NYL did not immediately dismiss Morgan, as he was accustomed to some reviews by the company. NYL indicated that Morgan had provided claim regarding his performance whereby he indicated that he had surpassed the company’s targets, including increasing the number of agents to 99 and a five percent growth in manpower. Morris, an evaluator with NYL, indicates that this was not entirely true, since the added agents did not comply with the company’s criteria for meeting laid threshold. In addition, NYL asserted that three splits resulting from the inducted agents appeared as gifts, while the fourth one was not substantiated. Thus, this indicated that Morgan had failed to meet the set goal and the company could not continue working with him. Consequently, in a meeting held in September 2005 involving Morgan, O’Neill, and Willson, Morgan was relieved of his duties as provided for in NYL’s manual. Mo Abdou, who was 40 years old at that time, replaced Morgan. Morgan argued that this was not professional as Abdou’s name featured in a document stating his replacement before the management had determined his underperformance.

Thus, Morgan was compelled to file a case against his former employers under the Ohio law for reverse discrimination based on race, which went to trial. Despite NYL’s intention in limine to exclude some statements proposed by Morgan in the case, the court denied their motion, which compelled NYL to propose a jury instruction in relation to the case.

In conclusion, the jury decided in favor of Morgan regarding his age discrimination count, consequently awarding him a total of $ 5,500,000 in past and future compensation as damages. In addition, the jury offered Morgan a further $ 10,005,000 compensation charges for non-economic and punitive charges. The decision was arrived at by the Jury through observation of three essential factors relevant to these cases, and they included punitive charges award, NYL’s motion for judgment as a matter of a new trial, and lastly, the admission of age-related statements without the instructions from the Jury. Thus, analysts indicate that despite the appeal by NYL, the district court awarded the compensatory damages correctly. However, they point out that NYL have a chance to receive a reprieve on the punitive charges because they do not comport with the laid down procedure and are excessive.

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