Lorillard v. Pons

LOCATION:Seneca County Court

DOCKET NO.: 76-1346
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: 434 US 575 (1978)
ARGUED: Dec 06, 1977
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1978

Norman B. Smith – for respondent
Thornton H. Brooks – for petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Lorillard v. Pons

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – December 06, 1977 in Lorillard v. Pons

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – February 22, 1978 in Lorillard v. Pons

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the court in 76-1346 Lorillard against Pons and in 76-1476 Bateson against the United States will be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

In number 76-1346 Lorillard is here from the Fourth Circuit, Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit.

In this case, the question is whether there is a right to jury trial in private civil actions for lost wages under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1967.

Respondent brought this suit against petitioner former employer alleging that she had been discharged because of her age in violation of the Act.

She demanded a jury trial on a claim, but the trial court ruled that she had no right to a jury trial.

On appeal that Court of Appeals held that the respondent had both the statutory and the constitutional right to a jury trial.

We granted certiorari to resolve the conflict in the circuits on this issue.

By an opinion filed today with the clerk, we hold that the respondent did have a statutory right to a jury trial on the claim for lost wages and we therefore do not reach the constitutional question.

Although there is no provision in the Act to express the relating to jury trials, the structure of the Act demonstrates the congressional intent to grant a right to a jury trial.

First Congress incorporated the procedures of the Fair Labor Standards Act under which jury trials have been afforded as a matter of right.

Moreover, by expressly providing for legal relief in the Age Discrimination Act, we believe that Congress evidenced its intention that jury trial be made available on demand.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is accordingly affirmed.

Mr. Justice Blackmun took no part in the consideration or discussion of this case.