“[I]f there was any error in giving instruction # 6 along with instructions 9 and 10, we find that it was harmless. Instruction # 6 did not specifically state that it was defining ‘preponderance of the evidence,’ but it provided that:
‘When I say that a party has the burden of proof on any proposition, or use the expression “if you find,” or “if you decide,” I mean you must be persuaded, considering all the evidence in the case, that the proposition on which he has the burden of proof is more probably true than not true.’
“We find this explanation of the burden of proof sufficient to inform the jury of the applicable meaning of ‘preponderance of the evidence.’ Moreover, considering the overwhelming evidence of statistics showing no age disparity after the RIF and of Crabtree’s own violent demeanor (most of which we learned at oral argument was initially placed before the jury by Crabtree’s counsel in his case-in-chief), if there was any error at all, it was harmless.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Murphy, J., Williams, J.