Employee’s Testimony Sufficient for Damages



In a Connecticut Supreme Court case released August 1, 2023, the Court held that the terminated employee’s own testimony of his wage lost in a trial where the jury returned a verdict in his favor was sufficient to satisfy the “reasonable certainty” standard in order for him to prevail.  Roach v. Transwaste, Inc., 2023 Conn. LEXIS 171, Aug. 1, 2023.

 The plaintiff, William L. Roach, was employed by Transwaste Inc. as commercial truck driver from 2013 to 2015.  The company terminated his employment after he raised several complaints about the safety of the vehicles.  He then filed suit and claimed his terminated violated Connecticut statute section 31-51q, Connecticut’s protected speech statute, which is more expansive than the U.S. Constitution First Amendment free speech protection, as applied to the workplace.

At trial, the sole evidence to lost wages was Roach’s testimony.  The jury awarded him $24,288 in lost wages.

The defendant company filed post-trial motions to reduce the verdict to zero, claiming there was no evidence to support the award and the plaintiff’s testimony was not specific to his lost wages.  The trial court denied the company’s motions and the Appellate Court declined to set aside the award.

The Connecticut Supreme Court cited the governing law with regard to the evidentiary standard for damages:  “Damages are recoverable only to the extent that the evidence affords a sufficient basis for estimating their amount in money with reasonable certainty.” 

The Court held that damages based exclusively on testimonial evidence is sufficient.  “[t]estimonial evidence is sufficient to support an award of economic damages, provide the jury’s reliance on this evidence is reasonable.”  Carrano v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, 279 Conn. 622, 647 (2006).

In affirming the Appellate Court, the Supreme Court held that the “plaintiff proved his damages to a reasonable certainty by providing non-speculative evidence from which the jury derived a fair and reasonable estimate.”


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