DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN)— A jury’s decision to award a Dothan woman half a million dollars against her former employer is being challenged.

In March 2023, a Houston County Jury awarded Gayla White $500,000 in compensatory damages against her former employer, John Donaldson. This came after White filed a lawsuit against Donaldson in 2021.

In 2018, White was accused and later acquitted, of stealing deposits from the wedding venue she worked, Windmill Station, between the month of November 2017 and June 2018.

The 2021 lawsuit claimed from the time of White’s arrest to her acquittal at trial, Donaldson made claims and gave reports to the media that was defamatory and untrue, and because of this, she feared that future employment would be denied.

Now, Donaldson’s attorneys are requesting a new trial based on two factors: Lack of evidence, and sickness.

According to the defense, White’s team did not provide enough evidence for the jury to return a verdict in White’s favor for half a million dollars.

The amount of damages awarded by the jury is not supported by the evidence. The amount of the verdict, considering the evidence presented, could only have been the result of passion or prejudice by the jury.

Motion For A New Trial

The defense also claims Donaldson’s attorney, John White, suffered a physical illness that affected his performance during the trial.

Mr. White’s illness interfered with his ability to focus on the testimony of witnesses, effectively cross-examine Plaintiff witnesses, make effective and timely objections and present an appropriate opening or closing argument

Motion For A New Trial

Judge Henry “Butch” Binford set a hearing for the New Trial Motion on Wednesday, June 21, at 9:00 a.m.