Sorry for the long hiatus, folks. But I do have an excuse: I was tied up doing a particularly grueling 3-week jury trial in federal court in Fresno, CA. I’m happy to say that the good guys won — a unanimous verdict on all counts: disability discrimination (mental disability) under the California Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA), failure to accommodate a disability, failure to engage in interactive process to find a reasonable accommodation, CFRA/FMLA medical leave interference, medical leave violation, medical leave retaliation, FEHA complaint retaliation, etc.
This is a case where the other side never once offered to settle. One of the lawyers on the defense team sneered at my client several times during trial too.
The jury awarded us $500,000+ in economic damages. Because there was also a unanimous jury finding of “willful” violation of FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) by the defendant, the addition of liquidated damages should take the recovery to over $1+ million. There’s also the award of substantial case-related costs and statutory attorney fees for the 3,500+ hours I worked on this case, which has yet to be decided.
There were a number of challenges in this case. First, I tried this case in the Eastern District of California, a venue that is well-known to have conservative and anti-plaintiff jurors. Second, the defendant was a county with an immense amount of resources, connections and, in my opinion, arrogance. They were contentious and unpleasant to deal with. Third, the court’s rulings markedly favored my opponents from start to finish. Months before trial, the magistrate judge for my case abruptly left the bench to become County Counsel for my opponent, the County of Kern. Fourth, discovery was massive, with over 30,000 pages produced in discovery and over 40 witnesses were deposed.
I was interviewed on TV evening news shortly after the verdict: “Doctor Wins $500,000 Judgment”.
Anyway, all’s well that ends well. I’m happy to be back and will be posting again. Thanks for your patience and sticking with me.