Trials & Litigation

Jury awards $2.2M to 2 workers who sued over DNA tests to ID 'devious defecator'

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A federal jury in Georgia has awarded $2.225,000 million to two men required to take DNA tests. They were peformed in an effort to identify a “devious defecator” who left piles of feces on a food-storage warehouse floor at the grocery distributor where the pair worked.

Plaintiffs Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds sued Atlas Logistics Group Retail Services after the tests cleared them, and a federal judge overseeing the Atlanta case agreed that their claims stated a cause of action under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

On Monday, the jury awarded $225,000 and $250,000 to each plaintiff, plus another $1,750,000 in punitive damages. However, a lawyer for Atlas says the award legally cannot exceed $600,000 and says his client may appeal even that reduced amount, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Daily Report (sub. req.) and Reuters.

Atlas “made diligent efforts to act reasonably in the face of a crisis facing its business and to comply with this relatively new and unique law,” said attorney Dion Kohler of Jackson Lewis, who represents the company.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs were overjoyed. “It was the verdict we were hoping for,” said Amanda Farahany of Barrett & Farahany. Her co-counsel in the case is Benjamin Stark.

Related coverage: “Employer’s search for ‘devious defecator’ backfires after suspects sue under genetic privacy law”

Volokh Conspiracy (Washington Post, reg. req.): “Jurors award $2.25M in “devious defecator” case”

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