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Plaintiff in sexual harassment case ultimately unsuccessful


(Updated to reflect later rulings in the case)

A plaintiff in a sexual harassment and retaliation case who was initially successful in overturning a district court ruling and reinstating her claims over the issue of verbal comments has been ultimately unsuccessful in pursuing her case.

In a 2016 ruling, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston in Xiaoyan Tang v. Citizens Bank N.A. et al reinstated sexual harassment and retaliation claims filed by Ms. Tang, who had charged her supervisor at Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank N.ZA., senior vice president David Nackley, with making inappropriate comments.

Ms. Tang, who was terminated in June 2011, said she received a negative performance review from Mr. Nackley after he realized she was not responding to his advances.

She charged the bank and Mr. Nackley with sexual harassment and with retaliation, for filing a complaint to the personnel department about him.

But in February 2017, a jury ruled in favor of the bank and Mr. Nackley in the case, which was affirmed by the trial court judge the following month. 

Ms. Tang once again appealed her case to the 1st Circuit, seeking a new trial, but this time was unsuccessful, in a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel ruling issued in July 2018.

“In Tang’s first appeal, after our review of the evidence in the summary judgment record, we noted that a jury could find that she was fired for inadequate performance,” said the ruling written by former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.

“Suffice it to say that the same is true here, when the trial evidence must be regarded most favorably to Citizens. No one could seriously conclude that it was not possible” for the jury to rule against her, “and no one could find on the part of the trial judge an abuse of discretion in denying the motion to vacate the verdict and order a new trial,” the ruling said.




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