According to a Law.com story, Craine’s sexual discrimination case centered around a promotions committee member comparing Craine’s chemistry experiments to a “cookie recipe.”
The justices rejected the claim, pointing out that Craine herself had once described a student’s work as “cookbook” experiments – proving that “thinking of chemistry in terms of cooking was neither unique to men nor denigrating to women.”
Clear and Strong Standard
Saying that sexual discrimination evidence needed to be clear and strong to support such a jury verdict, justices further slashed Leslie Craine’s January 1999 award from $3 million to $721,304. A judge had already slashed the initial $12.6-million award, which The Chronicle of Higher Education called the highest of its kind in the US.
According to the report, the opinion noted that even Craine herself had described some student work as “cookbook” style experiments. This showed, Sullivan wrote, “that thinking of chemistry in terms of cooking was neither unique to men nor denigrating to women.”
Justices upheld the jury’s $671,304 verdict for past and future economic impact and $50,000 in emotional distress losses.
Despite throwing out the sexual discrimination charges, the high court left intact Craine’s breach of contract claim, which alleged that Trinity had shifted the rules in the midst of Craine’s tenure review process.