A couple of the instructions will be simply procedural:
- Immediately chose a foreperson
- Nine or more must agree on any particular verdict
In all cases the jury must be "satisfied from the evidence as a whole" that the evidence favors either former Booker T Washington Academy Principal Peggy Petrilli or that it favors Fayette County Schools Superintendent Stu Silberman. And there are a few claims that require resolution.
After hearing all of the evidence as presented by Plaintiff's Attorney J Dale Golden and Defendant's Attorney John McNeill the jury must weight the evidence with regard to whether the evidence satisfies certain legal elements. In court documents, the plaintiff's asked the judge to instruct the jury...
The jury must find for Peggy Petrilli if the following are true:
- Petrilli complained about racial issues
- Silberman knew about Petrilli's complaints
- Silberman took an employment action adverse to Petrilli, and
- There was a causal connection between Petrilli's complaint and the adverse action.
"An employment action adverse to Peggy Petrilli includes any conduct which well might discourage a reasonable employee from reporting racial issues."
The same instructions will be considered separately relative to the Fayette County Board of Education "acting by and through its agents representatives, and/or employees."
On the Whistleblower claim
The jury must find for Petrilli if the following are true:
- That Petrilli reported information regarding actual or suspected violation(s) of law, mandates, rules, and/or policies of the Fayette County Board of Education, its agents, representatives or employees;
- That the Fayette County Board of Education acting by and through its agents, representative, or employees, caused Petrilli to be subjected to reprisal, or directly or indirectly used official authority or influence against her as a result of her report(s) to the Fayette County Board of Education, its agents, representatives or employees.
On the Constitutional claims
There are a few separate constitutional claims that require the jury to find for Petrilli if they believe her rights were violated under different sections of the constitution.
- The right of enjoying and defending her life and liberties, or
- The right of seeking and pursuing her safety and happiness, or
- The right of acquiring and protecting her property
Or, under a different section, if the jury believes that Stu Silberman, or the board violated Petrilli's rights...
- By exercising absolute and arbitrary power over Petrilli's life, liberty or property
Or violated her rights to
- equal protection, or
- due process
On Racial Discrimination
The jury must find for Petrilli if they are satisfied by the evidence that...
- Petrilli was subjected to an adverse employment action
- Petrilli was qualified to be principal of BTWA, and
- Petrilli was replaced by a person of a different race
The plaintiff asked the judge to instruct the jury "that an adverse action can include, but is not limited to, a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge is when an employee finds the working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable person would feel compelled to resign.
If the jury finds for Petrilli, they must then turn their attention to compensation. Petrilli is asking for damages
- for mental pain and suffering...not to exceed $3 million
- Lost wages not to exceed $500,000
- Punitive damages as may be fixed by the jury
SOURCE: Court documents, Photo by David Perry/H-L