Four years after Schleich was fired, she received a ruling from the trial jury. In March 2009, a six-person jury ruled unanimously that she was not a victim of age discrimination. They did find that there was retaliation against her for filing complaints and awarded her $75,000. The city, however, appealed the jury’s verdict, and the case landed before a circuit court judge. Judges rarely second-guess juries because the collective decision is accepted as the best analysis of the evidence. But in a stunning and unusual reversal, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Jack Tuter overturned the jury’s verdict—and left Schleich with nothing.
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Robin Gerber is a lawyer and the author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Create Her.