California: “A jury has awarded a local mother more than $185 million in damages in a pregnancy and gender discrimination case against her former employer AutoZone.” [KGTV, auto-plays]
More: Jon Hyman (damage to company’s reputation likely more serious than eventual actual payout).
They appear to have gotten one very conservative San Diego judge exiled to traffic court [Will Baude]
“…Because it’s leverage in negotiating a more favorable sex-harassment settlement.” [Tim Noah] More: Ken at Popehat.
In many cases, I’m sympathetic when government defendants who get sued ask for their legal costs to be covered. Among other reasons: 1) claims against individual supervisors are regularly advanced tactically in cases that really arise from discontent aimed at the government as employer; and 2) the in terrorem effect of individual liability can otherwise create pressure for pre-emptive settlement. Does it make a difference when the alleged misconduct serves the purpose of personal gratification for the boss rather than advancing the interests of the government employer? Or — in the case of San Diego’s mayor — that his bad behavior toward women has apparently been an open secret in the city’s political circles for years? [San Diego Union-Tribune]
San Diego mayor Bob Filner says the city will discontinue its use of traffic cameras now that a contract is expiring. The cameras, which often resulted in $500 fines levied on tourists, produced $1.9 million in gross revenue in fiscal 2011, but the city was left with only $200,000 of that “after paying the officers who issued the tickets, a camera vendor and other costs.” [Union-Tribune]
I’ll be on KOGO-600 AM’s Top Story with Chris Reed tonight at 6:35 pm Pacific discussing recent CCAF cases and the problem of bad class action settlement cases generally.
Alzada Knickerbocker’s bookshop in
Davis Sacramento, California, the Avid Reader, was hit with a complaint from a serial ADA filer. She went on camera to explain what happened for the Sick of Lawsuits video series. More on ADA serial filers here. And the Desert Sun in southern California profiles the activities of San Diego resident Roy Gash, who “is or was the plaintiff in more than 200 ADA lawsuits,” and his lawyer Theodore Pinnock, whose San Diego firm Pinnock and Wakefield “has filed about 2,000 such suits.”
P.S. Thanks to commenter B.P. for correction: the suit was against the store’s Sacramento, not Davis, branch.
We’ve been following Buell-Wilson v. Ford for some time, including the U.S. Supreme Court remand. Curt Cutting’s blog has the latest in two April posts here and here. Cal Biz Lit also has good commentary.
Mitchell W. Roth had offices in Sherman Oaks, San Diego, and Riverside, per the NLJ. Roth’s appearances on the Internet include CaliforniaSpineInjury.com and the “Middle Class Advocate” blog.
Curt Cutting at California Punitive Damages takes note of a jury’s very large verdict against San Diego Gas and Electric last month, including $40 million in punitive damages, after a helicopter fatally collided with a 130-foot utility tower located on the base at Camp Pendleton. “The plaintiffs claimed that SDG&E was negligent for not installing safety lights on the tower. SDG&E says the tower had been on the base for 25 years and they would have installed lights if the Marine Corps had asked. They contend the crash was the result of errors by the crew and they plan to appeal.” (Sept. 3; Tony Perry, “$55.6 million awarded in fatal Marine helicopter crash”, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 4). Bruce Nye at Cal Biz Lit calls the verdict a “stunner” (Sept. 8).
Otherwise, the employer may just be setting itself up for wage-hour suits based on the premise that the after-hours use constitutes uncompensated overtime, says Mitch Danzig, “an attorney in the San Diego office of Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. Danzig advises his clients to give BlackBerrys only to employees who are exempt from overtime laws. ‘Plaintiffs’ firms are trolling for this,’ he said. ‘Now what you’re seeing on [plaintiffs'] firms’ Web sites are, “Have you been assigned a BlackBerry or a phone? If so, give us a call.”‘” (Ashby Jones, WSJ law blog, Apr. 22; Tresa Baldas, NLJ, Apr. 28). More: Jeffrey Hirsch, Workplace Prof Blog.