A Florida appeals court reversed a jury verdict awarding $1 million to a TV health reporter who alleged she was fired because she was too old.
The ruling on Wednesday reversed a 2010 jury’s decision that Sunbeam Television Corporation, the company that owns WSVN-Fox 7, fired 52-year-old Marilyn Mitzel in 2007 because of her age.
Mitzel, who was fired after 17 years of employment as a reporter with the station, testified at trial that Sunbeam failed to give her a reason for her dismissal, but that she believed her age played a key role in the company’s decision to terminate her employment.
Attorneys for Sunbeam claimed that Mitzel was let go because the television audience shifted its interest from news about health to that regarding terrorism and political issues following the Septemper 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The court of appeals ruled that the trial judge shouldn’t have allowed Mitzel to tack a sex discrimination charge onto her lawsuit late in her case. The court also criticized the testimony of one expert witness as being beyond the scope of her expertise and serving only to prejudice the jury.
The company has announced that it intends to file a motion to dismiss the case.
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