Clemens v. Qwest Corp., 874 F.3d 1113 (9th Cir. 2017)

Arthur Clemens, Jr., sued his employer Qwest Corporation for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. A jury awarded Clemens $157,000 for lost wages and benefits, more than $275,000 for emotional distress and $100,000 in punitive damages. The district court reduced the emotional distress and punitive damages awards to a total of $300,000 (based on Title VII’s cap on compensatory and punitive damages). The district court denied Clemens’s request for a “tax consequence adjustment” or “gross up” to compensate him for his increased income-tax liability, resulting from his receipt of the backpay award in one lump sum. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s order denying a tax consequence adjustment and joined the Third, Seventh and Tenth Circuits in permitting it. See also Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Servs. of Chicago, 138 S. Ct. 13 (2017) (Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure’s limitation on extension of time to file a notice of appeal is not jurisdictional).