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Court affirms $2M gender bias verdict for Boston Police officer

A federal judge affirmed a $2 million gender bias jury verdict obtained by Nick Carter and Lucia Passanisi on behalf of Boston Police Officer Donna Gavin against the Boston Police Department and a former supervisor.

The judge rejected the request of the defendants for a new verdict or to reduce the jury award.

“All of their challenges ... rest on flawed legal positions previously considered and rejected by the Court and on a selective recitation of the record which ignores evidence presented at trial that plainly and persuasively supports the jury’s verdict,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin.

Judge Sorokin also ordered the defendant to pay most of Ms. Gavin’s request for $1.3 million in attorneys’ fees.

“Lieutenant Detective Gavin,” said Mr. Carter, “was brave to take on this fight against gender discrimination, which has been a hard and long fight. We are gratified the trial court has upheld the jury verdict in its entirety and nearly all of our attorney fee requests.  We hope at long last the city will end this fight and do the right thing, which is to recognize the wrong that was done to her and to pay the amount they owe as found by the jury and the judge.”

Mr. Carter and Ms. Passanisi in November 2021 obtained the verdict in favor Ms. Gavin, a high-ranking Boston Police detective, for gender bias, retaliation, and hostile work environment after she lodged gender bias accusations against a male supervisor, Mark Hayes, and the Boston Police Department.

Following the four-week trial, the jury awarded damages to Ms. Gavin for emotional distress,  lost job promotion opportunities, and lost benefits.