California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: punitive damages

Court Affirms $7.1 Million Whistleblower Verdict

Zirpel v. Alki David Prods., Inc., 93 Cal. App. 5th 563 (2023) Karl Zirpel worked as the vice president of operations for Alki David Productions (“ADP”) before the principal of ADP, Alki David, fired him for allegedly disclosing information that Zirpel reasonably believed evidenced a violation of safety standards and for disclosing information about ADP’s … Continue Reading

September 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employers Owe No Duty Of Care To Prevent The Spread Of COVID To Employees’ Household Members School District Employer Did Not Violate The Law By Requiring … Continue Reading

$137 Million Racial Harassment Verdict Against Tesla Slashed by New Jury!

An astronomical $137 million jury verdict against Tesla has again been reduced, for a second (and potentially final) time. Last Monday, following a five-day trial on damages, a federal court jury awarded Owen Diaz, a former Tesla elevator operator, $175,000 in emotional distress damages and $3 million in punitive damages, totaling nearly $3.2 million—almost $134 … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Hands $155 Million Holiday Gift to Fired Insurance Executive

As we recently reported, California juries continue to award massive verdicts to employees with alarming regularity.  And, just in time for the holidays, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury upped the ante on Thursday, handing a fired insurance company executive a verdict totaling $155.4 million – including $150 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff Andrew Rudnicki worked … Continue Reading

Another Gargantuan California Verdict… This Time for $18.6 Million

A San Diego jury awarded that amount to a former employee who claimed he was wrongfully terminated based on his arrest record and then defamed. Michael Tilkey worked for Allstate Insurance for 30 years and was fired from his job as a field sales leader after he admitted to Allstate that he was arrested for domestic violence … Continue Reading

$48,000 Judgment Affirmed In Favor Of Former Parks & Recreation Employee

Hurley v. California Dep’t of Parks & Recreation, 2018 WL 989506 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Delane Hurley worked as a staff services analyst who sued her employer, the Department of Parks & Recreation (“DPR”), and her former supervisor Leda Seals for harassment based on sex and sexual orientation in violation of the Fair Employment and … Continue Reading

$300,000 In Punitive Damages Upheld In Sexual Harassment Case Despite Nominal Damages Award

State of Arizona v. ASARCO LLC, 2014 WL 6918577 (9th Cir. 2014) (en banc) Angela Aguilar who worked in a copper mine for approximately 11 months claimed she was sexually harassed, retaliated against, subjected to intentional infliction of emotional distress and was constructively terminated from her employment. After an eight-day trial, the jury found ASARCO … Continue Reading

Jury Awards Record $168 Million to Employee in Workplace Harassment Suit

A federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a record $168 million to a physician’s assistant who complained of multiple instances of sexual harassment by her supervisors in the cardiovascular surgery department at Sacramento’s Mercy General Hospital. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever awarded to a single plaintiff in an employment case. The … Continue Reading

June 23, 2010 MCLE Telephonic Employment Law Seminar

On Wednesday, June 23, 2010, I will be speaking at the 2010 Employment Law Update telephonic conference sponsored by CEB.  It is always a lively and informative program, and I encourage you to enroll.  The program runs from 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. (Pacific).  One hour of MCLE credit is available. Details after the break.… Continue Reading

Court Affirms $1.1 Million Verdict In Favor Of Terminated Preschool Director

Scott v. Phoenix Schools, Inc., 175 Cal. App. 4th 702 (2009) Jennifer Scott was terminated from her position as director of one of Phoenix Schools’ preschools. Her responsibilities included assigning personnel in compliance with the state regulations that set the minimum teacher-student ratios for child care centers. Scott was terminated shortly after she informed the parents of … Continue Reading

Employee Was Not Entitled To Punitive Damages For Labor Code Violations

Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties, LP, 168 Cal. App. 4th 1243 (2008) Christine Brewer, a waitress who had been employed at the Cottonwood Golf Club, quit her job and filed a complaint seeking damages for various alleged violations of the California Labor Code. After a jury trial, Brewer was awarded less than $1,000 for unpaid … Continue Reading

$30 Million Punitive Damages Award In Sexual Harassment Case To Be Reduced

Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 137 Cal. App. 4th 204 (2006) Six Ralphs employees sued for sexual harassment after the store director allegedly engaged in inappropriate touching, used profanity, made inappropriate comments about some of the employees’ sex lives and threw various objects at some of them. The jury awarded each of the employees between … Continue Reading

$30 Million Punitive Damages Award In Sexual Harassment Case Was Properly Reversed

Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 128 Cal. App. 4th 648 (2005) The jury awarded Dianne Gober and five other employees of Ralphs a total of $550,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amount of $30 million as a result of sexual harassment they suffered in the workplace. The trial court conditionally granted a … Continue Reading

Punitive Damages Award Of 145 Times Compensatory Damages Was Excessive

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513 (2003) Curtis and Inez Campbell sued their automobile insurance carrier (State Farm) for bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress after State Farm declined to settle within the $50,000 policy limit a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit … Continue Reading

Wrongfully Terminated Employee Was Entitled To $1.15 Million Punitive Damages Award

Freund v. Nycomed Amersham, 326 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2003) Jeffrey R. Freund worked as a pharmacist in Nycomed’s nuclear pharmacy in San Diego. After a few years of employment, Freund’s relationship with his supervisor, Mike Wakefield, “soured.” Freund lodged complaints about staffing, expressing his concern that overwork of staff members increased the probability that … Continue Reading
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