The article, Jury Slams UCLA With $13M Gender Discrimination Verdict by Max Mitchell originally appeared on Law.com on February 21, 2018.
A Los Angeles jury has order the University of California, Los Angeles to pay a $13 million verdict for allegedly retaliating against a female oncologist who complained about discrimination.
The verdict came down in Judge Michael Linfield’s courtroom, with the jury finding that Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown deserved $3 million in lost earnings, as well as $10 million in damages for emotional distress. The verdict was rendered Feb. 15 after about 14 days of trial.
Although the jury did not find in favor of Pinter-Brown’s age discrimination claim, the jury found that UCLA retaliated against her and discriminated against her based on her gender.
Santa Monica, California, attorney Carney Shegerian of Shegerian & Associates, who represented Pinter-Brown, said that Pinter-Brown’s testimony and demeanor was most likely what swayed the jury toward finding in her favor.
“She’s incredibility bright, a world-renowned oncologist and impeccably honest,” Shegerian said. “She is just one of those people who is not going to spin anything. She was just telling it like she saw it, and she stood out that way to me as someone very different from the defense witnesses.”
Pinter-Brown started working at UCLA’s medical center as the director of its lymphoma program in 2005. According to the plaintiff’s counsel, she received exemplary peer reviews and awards throughout her tenure, and, up until 2013, was one of only two female faculty members in the program.
According to Pinter-Brown’s counsel, the doctor began raising concerns about being harassed by a male colleague, but was subsequently targeted in several audits. Eventually she had her research privileges suspended and her title stricken, which, she contended, damaged her reputation.
Pinter-Brown’s counsel said that, even after filing verbal and written complaints, UCLA made no significant efforts to fix the problem, and that she was forced to “play dead” at work to avoid additional conflicts. She eventually resigned from her position at UCLA in 2015.
According to Shegerian, UCLA argued at trial that Pinter-Brown mischaracterized the comments she claimed had been harassment, and contended the conduct were merely the result of her allegedly not getting along with the subordinate who she alleged had been harassing her. UCLA further contended that it properly handled her reports of harassment through an internal process.
The jury, which was made up of 10 woman and two men, found 10-2 in favor of Pinter-Brown’s gender discrimination and retaliation claims.
Barbara Fitzgerald of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius represented UCLA. Fitzgerald did not return a call for comment.
Since launching Shegerian & Associates over a decade ago, California Fellow Carney Shegerian has developed a reputation as "The People's Attorney" -- fighting passionately for the rights of his employee clients, and compassionately explaining the process as each client navigates through his or her case. As an experienced trial attorney, Mr. Shegerian has tried numerous jury trials to verdict in both state and federal court, always representing individuals that have suffered financial or emotional losses and have been wronged by employers, including major corporations. Winner of the 2013 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award as a result of trying a number of significant cases, Mr. Shegerian was also nominated, and a finalist, for the award in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mr. Shegerian is also included in the Daily Journal's Top Labor and Employment Lawyers list of the top 75 attorneys. His record of success for his clients - whether via substantial settlements or in a trial jury scenario, is unparalleled. He has made it his life's mission to help those who have been wronged in the workplace. Mr. Shegerian has won over 80 jury trials, including 37 seven figure verdicts as a plaintiff's attorney. Mr. Shegerian is licensed to practice in all California courts, local federal courts and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Shegerian is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.