A Miami-Dade jury, sworn to exercise its civic duty, awarded security guard Jackalyn Strachan $150,000 in damages — for exercising her same civic duty.
The six-person jury found that Miami security firm Hall Investigation Service wrongfully denied wages and fired Strachan for serving as a juror in a murder trial in April 2007.
I think the jury in our case understood jury service is a fundamental part of what makes our system work. They wanted to send a message that you can’t punish people for doing their duty said her lawyer, Michael Feiler.
By county law, employers cannot fire workers who serve on juries, and must pay at least the first three days of their time off.
Strachan, 57, was a longtime Hall security supervisor. In April 2007, she was stationed at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza office building.
She told company owner Arthur Hall, a former police officer, about the jury summons and he became angry, saying she should skip court for work, according to her lawsuit filed by lawyers Feiler and Martin Leach.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice A. Butchko gave Strachan a letter vouching for her service, plus a copy of the county law protecting citizens who serve on juries.
Still, the suit said, Hall refused to pay her the roughly $400 in wages she should have earned those three days. He later accused Strachan of fraud, threatening to report her to the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, the suit alleged.
The jurors in Strachan’s case awarded her $30,000 for lost wages and emotional distress, and $120,000 in punitive damages.
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