DES MOINES, Iowa -- The state of Iowa is arguing that Kirsten Anderson's lawyers violated statements in closing arguments, enticed jurors with passion and prejudice and failed to provide sufficient evidence to call for the $2.2 million dollars awarded to the former Senate Republican Caucus staffer.
The motion for a new trial in the lawsuit over sexual harassment and wrongful termination against the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus is no surprise for Kirsten Anderson's attorney Michael Carroll. "What you have now is the state of Iowa saying a jury of sensible Iowans made the wrong decision. We disagree with that."
Anderson says it's also sending the wrong message to Iowans. "We hear Kim Reynolds talk about how the state will uphold it's obligations sent forth by the court on one hand and on the other the Attorney General and Senate Republicans are wanting to spend more time and resources on a new trial."
Senate republicans and Tom Miller, the state's Attorney General are arguing that Kirsten Anderson's council wrongfully changed their request for emotional distress in total damages from $450,000 to $1.2 million in closing arguments. They say it led the jury to award her $2.2 million. The state argues they never had the opportunity to do any discovery on the basis of these calculations. "Those naysayers, those people focused on the money, they could never sit in my shoes and they judged not having understood the whole situation," said Anderson.
Carroll believes it was the jury who vindicated their victory, "The jury found that amount of money I suggested was not enough for my client for her injuries and that's the system of justice we have under the U.S. Constitution."
An amount the state believes jurors were influenced by when Anderson's attorneys said they could 'send a message' with their decision to rule in Anderson`s favor. The state believes that phrase may invite some passion and should be avoided. "I did not suggest to the jury that they should send a message. I said it was all in context of compensating my client for how she was harmed," said Carroll.
Anderson is quick to note that the problem could have easily been avoided alltogether saying, "What I'm really disappointed in is the lack of accountability Senate Republicans have expressed and put forth. they had the opportunity to fix this situation years ago when i first complained."
Carroll and Anderson are worried that by fighting for a new trial, Senate Republicans are stalling in what needs to be a fight for changed policies in the workplace. "That's not leadership, our government officials are not leaders when they don't take accountability, fix what needs to be fixed, learn from that mistake and move on and make things better for Iowans."
The state also believes that since Anderson's emotional distress was not backed up by medical testimony the amount awarded to her was excessive. Anderson's attorneys expect to file their response against the state sometime next week.