Storrs v. University of Cincinnati
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE (Doc. 97 ). Signed by Judge Timothy S. Black on 2/14/18. (jlm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
COLLEEN McTAGUE STORRS,
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI,
Case No. 1:15-cv-136
Judge Timothy S. Black
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION TO TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE (Doc. 97)
This civil case is before the Court on the motion (Doc. 97) of Plaintiff, Colleen
McTague Storrs, for the Court to judicially notice her benefits under the State Teachers
Retirement System of Ohio (“STRS”), as well as the parties’ responsive briefings (Docs.
99, 101, 102, 103). 1
At this point, the sole issue remaining for trial is Dr. McTague’s claim that
Defendant, the University of Cincinnati (“UC”), violated the EPA by paying her less than
male Assistant Professors in the Geography Department. For that claim, Dr. McTague
seeks to recover the difference between what she was paid as an Assistant Professor and
what UC paid to the male Assistant Professors, as well as damages to compensate her for
the effect that discrepancy had on her retirement payments under the STRS.
The Motion also requested that the Court take judicial notice of Plaintiff’s life expectancy; the
Court granted that request on the first day of trial. (See Dkt. 2/12/18 Minute Entry).
On February 5, 2018, Dr. McTague filed the instant motion requesting that the
Court take judicial notice of the formula used to calculate her retirement payments under
the STRS. (Doc. 97).
The taking of judicial notice is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 201. That
rule provides, in relevant part, that the Court may judicially notice a fact that is not
subject to reasonable dispute because it (1) is generally known within the trial court’s
territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources
whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. Fed. R. Evid. 201(b)(1)-(2).
Dr. McTague argues that the Court should take judicial notice of the formula used
to calculate her retirement benefits under the STRS. (Doc. 97 at 2-3). Dr. McTague filed
two documents to aid the Court in taking judicial notice: her STRS statement, and the
STRS’s publication Service Retirement and Plans of Payment. (Doc. 101-2).
Initially, the Court notes that the STRS statement and the STRS’s publication
provide two different equations. Specifically, the STRS statement provides that Dr.
McTague’s monthly retirement benefit is calculated by multiplying her “Final Average
Salary” (see Ohio Rev. Code § 3307.501) by 36.48%, and again by 85%, and then
dividing the resulting number by twelve (months). (Doc. 101-2 at 2). In contrast, the
STRS’s publication provides that Dr. McTague’s monthly benefit is calculated by
multiplying her “Final Average Salary” by a number on a chart that corresponds to her
age at retirement and her years of service, and dividing the resulting number by 12
(months). (See Doc. 102 at 22).
These two equations appear to be different means of arriving at, approximately,
the same result. Nevertheless, the formulas are different on their face, and the Court must
determine which, if either, is appropriate for judicial notice.
The Court finds that the formula on Plaintiff’s STRS statement is not appropriate
for judicial notice. The formula is listed on a paper bearing STRS letterhead, but devoid
of any other context. This is hardly a source “whose accuracy cannot be questioned” as
required by Federal Rule of Evidence 201.
However, the Court finds the formula provided in the STRS publication is
appropriate for judicial notice. The Court cannot reasonably question the accuracy of an
official publication from STRS, the entity tasked with administering and managing state
teachers retirement benefits. See Ohio Rev. Code § 3307.01, et seq. Further, the formula
for calculating beneficiaries’ monthly benefits is readily ascertainable from the
publication. (See Doc. 101-2 at 22).
UC objects to the Court taking judicial notice. Its arguments lack merit.
Initially, UC argues that the formula is not authenticated. (Doc. 103 at 3-4). The
Court does not agree. The formula is explained in the STRS’s publication, Service
Retirement and Plans of Payment, a document that is self-authenticating under Federal
Rule of Evidence 902(5) as an official publication of a public authority. (See Doc. 101-2
Next, UC argues that Dr. McTague is not qualified to testify as to particulars of
the STRS formula, including “what the STRS multiplier represents, its derivation, or its
application (including T-Bond rates and terms of annuity and statutory changes.)” (Doc.
103 at 1-2). The Court does not agree for multiple reasons.
First, Dr. McTague has not indicated that she intends to offer any evidence about
what any part of the calculation “represents,” and such testimony does not appear
Second, the self-authenticating Service Retirement and Plans of Payment
publication sufficiently explains the application of the STRS retirement payments. (See
Third, UC’s argument that Dr. McTague has not accounted for fluctuations in
bond rates, or changes to the statutes governing the STRS, lacks merit. The Ohio
Revised Code governs the STRS and the Service Retirement and Plans of Payment
publication explains the application based on the laws as they exist today. In proving her
damages, Dr. McTague is not required to account for hypothetical and speculative
changes to those laws.
Finally, UC argues that Dr. McTague is only entitled to the present value of her
future damages (the STRS payments), but the STRS formula fails to provide a present
value calculation. (Doc. 103 at 3). UC argues that Dr. McTague cannot provide
testimony regarding the present value of her STRS payments as her testimony would be
an uneducated guess. (Id.). This argument is not well-taken.
First, the Court agrees with UC that Dr. McTague is only entitled to recover the
present value of her STRS benefits. However, the fact that the STRS formula does not
contain a present value calculation does not render it inadmissible. The Court can
instruct the jury regarding present value of future damages. See Jackson v. City of
Cookeville, 31 F.3d 1354, 1360 (6th Cir. 1994) (district court properly instructed the jury
to discount retirement benefits to present value).
Second, to the extent UC suggests that Dr. McTague should be prohibited from
presenting evidence of her STRS benefits because she has not presented “any evidence,
guidance, or expert testimony on present value discount for the jurors,” it fails as a matter
of law. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected this exact argument. See
Pennsylvania R. Co. v. McKinley, 288 F.2d 262, at 266 (6th Cir. 1961) (rejecting the
argument that evidence of present value is a prerequisite to recovery of future damages
because “[j]urors are presumed to be intelligent people, generally aware, from today’s
economy and their own experience with it, of the earning value of money when placed in
For the foregoing reasons, Dr. McTague’s motion for judicial notice (Doc. 97) is
GRANTED to the extent it requests the Court to judicially notice the formula for
calculating her benefits under the State Teachers Retirement System.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Timothy S. Black
Timothy S. Black
United States District Judge
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