United States District Court, D. Hawaii
CAROLYN C. RITCHIE, Plaintiff,
THE STATE OF HAWAI`I, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY; and NEAL WAGATSUMA, in his official capacity as Warden of the Kauai Community Correctional Center, Department of Public Safety, State of Hawai`i, and in his individual capacity, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S ORAL MOTION FOR
JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW
E. Kobayashi United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiff Carolyn L. Ritchie's
(“Plaintiff”) Motion for Judgment as a Matter of
Law (“Motion”), presented orally on December 7,
2016. [Minutes, filed 12/7/16 (dkt. no. 349) (“12/7/16
Minutes”).] The same day, the Court heard oral argument
on the Motion from Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a memorandum in
support of her Motion on December 14, 2016, and Defendants
State of Hawai`i, Department of Public
Safety(“DPS”) and Neal Wagatsuma, in his
individual capacity (“Wagatsuma” and collectively
“Defendants”), filed a memorandum in opposition
on December 20, 2016 [Dkt. Nos. 384, 396.] After careful
consideration of the Motion, supporting and opposing
memoranda, and the relevant legal authority, Plaintiff's
Motion is HEREBY DENIED for the reasons set forth below.
January 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Second Amended
Complaint. [Dkt. no. 152.] Jury selection took place on
November 1, 2016, and trial commenced the same day. [Minutes,
filed 11/1/16 (dkt. no. 302).] The trial proceeded on the
following claims: unlawful retaliation under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title
VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1, et seq.,
against DPS (“Count I”); violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Wagatsuma (based on violation of the
First Amendment to the United Constitution) (“Count
II”); unlawful incitement or attempted incitement of
retaliation in violation of Haw. Rev. Stat. § 378-2
against Wagatsuma (“Count III”); intentional
infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) against
Wagatsuma (“Count V”); and defamation against
Wagatsuma (“Count VI”). On November 30, 2016,
Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew Count VI with prejudice.
[Minutes, filed 11/30/16 (dkt. no. 337).]
rested her case on November 30, 2016, [Minutes, filed
11/30/16 (dkt. no. 336), ] and Defendants rested their case
on December 7, 2016 [Minutes, filed 12/7/16 (dkt. no. 349)].
Closing arguments took place on December 12, 2016, and the
jury began deliberations the same day. [Minutes, filed
12/12/16 (dkt. no. 360.] On December 20, 2016, after sixteen
days of trial, the jury reached a verdict. [Minutes, filed
12/20/16 (dkt. no. 397).] The jury found in favor of
Defendants on all counts. See Special Verdict Form
as to Defendant State of Hawai`i, Department of Public
Safety, filed 12/20/16 (dkt. no. 399); Special Verdict Form
as to Defendant Wagatsuma, filed 12/20/16 (dkt. no. 400).
Plaintiff ask this Court to enter judgment as a matter of law
in her favor on all counts.
Civ. P. 50 provides, in relevant part:
(a) Judgment as a Matter of law.
(1) In General. If a party has been
fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court
finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally
sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that
issue, the court may:
(A) resolve the issue against the party; and
(B) grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against
the party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling
law, can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable
finding on that issue.
(2) Motion. A motion for judgment
as a matter of law may be made at any time before the case is
submitted to the jury. The motion must specify the judgment
sought and the law and facts that entitle the movant to the
(b) Renewing the Motion After Trial; Alternative
Motion for a New Trial. If the court does not grant
a motion for judgment as a matter of law made under Rule
50(a), the court is considered to have submitted the action
to the jury subject to the court's later deciding the
legal questions raised by the motion. No later than 28 days
after the entry of judgment - or if the motion addresses a
jury issue not decided by a verdict, no later than 28 days
after the jury was discharged - the movant may file a renewed
motion for judgment as a matter of law ...