Court Upholds Discrimination Ruling Against University
A federal appeals court upheld jury awards and attorneys’ fees totaling more than $1.64 million for two foreign-born professors who claimed officials at
historically Black Virginia State University discriminated against them.
In 1999, a federal jury awarded Nigerian-born chemistry professor Godwin O. Mbagwu $230,453 on his claim that VSU President Eddie Moore and two other administrators discriminated against him because he was not born in this country.
The jury also awarded Fathy Saleh, an Egyptian-born engineering technology professor, $117,349 after finding that the officials retaliated against him for complaining about what he viewed as discrimination against White and foreign-born faculty.
Mbagwu and Saleh alleged that the discrimination took the form of poor performance evaluations, low salary increases and interference with efforts to obtain grants for research.
After the jury returned its verdict, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ordered the defendants to pay $1.3 million in legal fees and costs to the plaintiffs’ lawyers. An appeals court affirmed the decision earlier this month.
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