BOSTON (CN) – FedEx Corp. may have its liability reduced a second time in the case of a fired employee who sued for libel and slander after the company accused him of shipping liquid cocaine, the 1st Circuit ruled.
A jury awarded Luis Soto-Lebron $7 million for libel, slander, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress after FedEx incorrectly concluded that he had shipped liquid cocaine.
The district court granted FedEx’s motion to reduce the amount to $4 million, and Judge Lipez remanded the case for a new trial on the damage amount.
“Soto did not introduce sufficient evidence to establish FedEx’s liability for slander and (intentional infliction of emotional distress), and hence we must vacate those jury verdicts.”
Lipez said FedEx “conducted a sloppy investigation” that culminated in Soto’s firing before the final lab results cleared Soto of wrongdoing.
Also, Lipez ruled that the jury’s award needed to be modified because in Puerto Rico, “a wrongfully terminated employee cannot recover emotional distress damages for the termination itself.”