- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jackson State University is asking for a new trial or for a federal judge to reduce the $382,000 awarded to former women’s basketball coach Denise Taylor Travis.

Travis, who used the last name Taylor when she was at JSU, coached for 10 seasons, from 2001 to 2011, and led the program to the 2008 SWAC Tournament title. Her contract was renewed in 2010 for four years with her salary set at $91,000 a year. The university fired Taylor in June 2011 after Carolyn Meyers became JSU president.

Taylor filed the lawsuit against the university, alleging wrongful termination, sexual discrimination, invasion of privacy and breach of contract.

In December 2013, a jury ruled in favor of Taylor’s claim that the university breached her contract and awarded her $182,000. The jury dismissed her sexual discrimination and retaliation claims. Also, in the same case, U.S. District Court Judge Henry T. Wingate ruled in August 2014 in favor of Taylor’s claim of emotional pain and suffering in her invasion of privacy claim and awarded her $200,000.

The parties are back in federal court. JSU is seeking a new trial or as an alternative for the court to reduce the $382,000 awarded to Taylor. Also, Taylor has asked for a new trial on her retaliation claim.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/1N9Oyr0) the parties are back in court.

“All of the damages awarded Taylor were unwarranted because Jackson State should have been granted judgment as a matter of law on both claims,” said LaToya Merritt, an attorney for the school in court papers. “In the alternative only, there were a variety of errors that make a new trial or, at a minimum, a remittitur (reduction in the amount) appropriate.”

Taylor’s attorneys argued that the awards vindicated her and were proper. She argues her retaliation claim should have been allowed.

In court papers, JSU says it officially terminated Taylor’s employment pursuant to the “for cause” provision of her contract. Taylor filed an arbitration request that JSU denied. She then filed the lawsuit.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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