A federal judge in Fort Wayne has reduced to $403,608 the amount a Roman Catholic diocese must pay a former northern Indiana teacher who was fired after undergoing fertilization treatment. The result is less than a quarter of what she was originally awarded by a jury.
Jurors awarded Emily Herx $1.9 million from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in December, but U.S. District Judge Robert Miller later reduced that to about $540,000 to put the damages for suffering under the statutory cap of $300,000. Miller on Thursday reduced the total judgment to $403,608, The Journal Gazette reported.
The reduction came after Miller asked Herx on July 7 if she would accept him cutting the amount of medical expenses in the judgment to about $35,000 in lieu of having a new trial on medical expenses.
Through her Indianapolis attorneys, Herx agreed on July 9, but did not give up her right to appeal any judgment awarded to her, according to court documents.
Diocese officials declined to renew Herx’s contract as a language arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in 2011 because she underwent in vitro fertilization. Diocese attorneys say church teachings call in vitro fertilization gravely evil.
In the spring of 2012, Herx sued the diocese, contending she had been the victim of gender discrimination and that the diocese treated similarly situated male teachers differently than she had been treated.