Sexual Harassment Plaintiff Awarded $25,000 in Emotional Distress Damages Following Defendants’ Default

In Zepeda v. Halftime Bar & Grill Corp., 2023 WL 266504 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2023), a hostile work environment/sexual harassment case, the court, inter alia, awarded plaintiff $25,000 in emotional distress damages following defendants’ default.

From the decision:

For “garden variety” emotional distress claims, where a plaintiff did not seek medical treatment but the plaintiff’s declaration describes shock, nightmares, sleeplessness, humiliation, and other subjective distress, courts have awarded damages ranging from $5,000 to $35,000.

Here, the Court finds that the details contained in Plaintiff’s declaration are sufficient to support her request for $25,000 for her garden variety damages and awards her emotional distress damages in that amount. See, e.g., Setty v. Synergy Fitness, No. 17-cv-6504, 2019 WL 1292431, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2019) (adopting magistrate judge’s recommendations of garden variety emotional distress damage awards of $35,000 for one of three plaintiffs and $25,000 to each additional plaintiff); Pelgrift v. 355 W. 41st Tavern, Inc., No. 14-cv-8934, 2018 WL 4735705, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2018) (awarding one of three default-judgment-seeking plaintiffs $20,000 in “garden variety” emotional distress damages and $40,000 to each additional plaintiff).

[Cleaned up.]

The court ultimately awarded plaintiff damages of $96,755.18, comprising the above-described $25,000 in emotional distress damages, as well as damages for unpaid minimum and overtime wages, unpaid spread of hours compensation, liquidated damages, and violation of NY Labor Law § 195.

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