United States District Court, D. Kansas
KRYSTAL L. BOXUM-DEBOLT and LISA ANNE MOORE, Plaintiffs,
MIKE KAGAY, in his official capacity as District Attorney for the Third District of the State of Kansas, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
KATHRYN H. VRATIL, United States District Judge
L. Boxum-Debolt and Lisa Anne Moore bring suit against Mike
Kagay in his official capacity as the District Attorney for
the Third Judicial District of Kansas, asserting claims for
gender discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. From
January 9 to 13, 2017, the Court conducted a jury trial which
resulted in a verdict in favor of defendant. See
Verdict (Doc. #149) filed January 13, 2017. This matter
comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion For New
Trial And Supporting Memorandum (Doc. #152) filed
February 14, 2017. For reasons stated below, the Court
overrules plaintiffs' motion.
deciding whether to grant a motion for new trial, the Court
exercises broad discretion.See Unit Drilling Co. v. Enron
Oil & Gas Co., 108 F.3d 1186, 1194 (10th Cir. 1997).
The Court generally regards motions for new trial with
disfavor and grants them only with great
caution. See Franklin v. Thompson, 981
F.2d 1168, 1171 (10th Cir. 1992); Utility Trailer Sales
of Kansas City, Inc. v. MAC Trailer Mfg., Inc., 734
F.Supp.2d 1210, 1216 (D. Kan. 2010). The party seeking to set
aside a jury verdict must demonstrate prejudicial trial error
or that the verdict is not based on substantial evidence.
Anderson v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 861 F.2d 631,
637 (10th Cir. 1988), overruled on other grounds by Hazen
Paper Co. v. Biggins, 507 U.S. 604 (1993); White v.
Conoco, Inc., 710 F.2d 1442, 1443 (10th Cir. 1983).
Where a party seeks a new trial based on insufficient
evidence, the verdict must stand unless it is clearly,
decidedly or overwhelmingly against the weight of the
evidence. See May v. Interstate Moving & Storage
Co., 739 F.2d 521, 525 (10th Cir. 1984). In reviewing a
motion for new trial, the Court views the evidence in the
light most favorable to the prevailing party. See Griffin
v. Strong, 983 F.3d 1544, 1546 (10th Cir. 1993). The
Court ignores errors that do not affect the essential
fairness of the trial. McDonough Power Equip., Inc. v.
Greenwood, 464 U.S. 548, 553 (1984).
urge the Court to order a new trial. Plaintiffs assert that
at trial, the overwhelming weight of evidence demonstrated
that the previous district attorney, Chadwick Taylor, fired
them because of gender and/or in retaliation for opposition
to gender and race discrimination. See Plaintiffs'
Motion For A New Trial And Supporting Memorandum (Doc.
#152) at 3-17. Also, plaintiffs assert that the Court
committed prejudicial error by allowing defendant to present
evidence regarding the personal staff exemption under Title
and Moore's sexual orientation. See id. at 18-24.
careful review of plaintiffs' arguments and the evidence
presented at trial, the Court overrules plaintiffs'
motion for substantially the reasons stated in
defendant's Response To Motion For New Trial
(Doc. #159) filed April 11, 2017. In particular, the Court
finds that substantial evidence supports the jury verdict.
See id. at 2-7. Based on evidence presented at
trial, the jury could reasonably conclude that Taylor decided
to fire plaintiffs based on their distasteful emails and Sue
Murphy's statements regarding plaintiffs'
contribution to dysfunction in the victim/witness unit, and
not because of discriminatory and/or retaliatory intent.
See id. In addition, the Court finds that evidence
regarding the personal staff exemption and Moore's sexual
orientation was relevant to the issues at hand and did not
unduly prejudice plaintiffs. See id. at 8-12.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion For New
Trial And Supporting Memorandum (Doc. #152)
filed February 14, 2017 is OVERRULED.
 Pursuant to Rule 59, Fed. R. Civ. P.,
the Court may grant a new trial “for any reason for
which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at
law in federal court.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
 The right to trial by jury is a
fundamental principle of our legal system. See Jacob v.
City of N.Y., 315 U.S. 752, 752-53 (1942) (right to jury
trial in civil cases basic and fundamental feature of our
legal system; courts should jealously guard right so
fundamental and sacred to citizens).
 Defendant asserted that plaintiffs
could not assert claims under Title VII because they were
members of Taylor's personal staff and therefore did not
constitute “employees” under the statute.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(f) (definition of
“employee” excludes any person chosen by elected
officer to serve on personal staff). The Court submitted the
issue to the jury, which rejected this defense and found in
favor of plaintiffs on that issue. See Verdict (Doc.
#147) at 2-3.
 Defendant asserted that Taylor fired
plaintiffs because of their negative work attitudes,
including certain emails that they exchanged at work. In the
emails, plaintiffs made derogatory comments about co-workers
and discussed their own drunken conduct at local bars,
including Moore's love interests in other women.
Plaintiffs sought to redact statements regarding Moore's
sexual orientation. The Court found that redacting the emails
would change their ...