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New trial ordered in Chen-Medina case
Former Medina Police Chief Jeffrey Chen's $2 million verdict against the city of Medina has been tossed out by the federal judge who heard the case.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly on Friday, Aug. 23, ordered a new trial, saying the jury was influenced by the misconduct of Chen's attorney during the trial. Chen had sued the city, claiming he was fired because of racial discrimination.
In his order, Zilly said Chen's attorney, Marianne Jones, "“relied primarily on innuendo and subterfuge rather than on evidence” to convince the jury that racial discrimination played a role in Chen's firing. Zilly said it is the first time in his 25 years as a judge that he has ordered a new trial.
As part of the jury's ruling in March, former City Manager Donna Hanson was ordered to pay Chen $25,000 in punitive damages. Hanson later left her job following an agreement with the city that paid her more than $200,000 that included a year's pay, deferred compensation and other benefits.
Zilly said the two sides have 28 days to tell him when they will be ready for a new trial.