Winer, Burritt & Tillis LLP Wins Verdict of $2 Million in Sexual Harassment Case Against FedEx
San Jose, Calif.– February 1, 2005 —
A Santa Clara County, California jury has awarded $2 million dollars in punitive damages in a sexual harassment suit filed against Federal Express Corp. on behalf of two female employees.
During the first phase of the trial the jury determined a variety of findings including: sexual harassment, failure to take reasonable steps to prevent and correct discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional stress. At that time the plaintiffs were awarded compensatory damages totaling $328k.
The punitive damages phase of the trial allowed the jury to decide the appropriate measure of monetary damages necessary to punish FedEx and deter this type of conduct from occurring again. Each plaintiff was awarded one million dollars in addition to the compensatory damages awarded previously.
“This verdict clearly sends a message to corporate America that we will not tolerate sexual abuse in the workplace. In addition, workers should not be intimidated by companies that turn their backs on this type of illegal behavior,” said plaintiffs’ attorney John Winer.
According to Winer, Kolainia Hettick had been working as a “Handler” in the document sort area from November 1999 until January 2003, when she determined that working conditions were so bad that she had to quit. Her coworker, Jana Bryant is a courier at the company’s Sunnyvale location. The harassment consisted of stalking-type behavior, intimidating the employees in the workplace based upon a coworker’s obsessive crush on Hettick and his feeling that Bryant was convincing Hettick not to respond to his persistent attempts to get her to go out with him.
According to Winer, both plaintiffs claim that they had made numerous complaints to management about this unwelcome conduct and that FedEx failed to take adequate steps to investigate the employees’ complaints and take prompt protective action required under the law.
The suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Winer, Burritt & Tillis LLP and was tried by John Winer from the firm’s Oakland offices. Other pending race discrimination cases against FedEx’s Sunnyvale station and other Bay Area stations are being litigated by Winer, Burritt & Tillis.
About John D. Winer
John D. Winer is recognized as one of the leading attorneys in the State of California at trying cases, especially cases involving psychological trauma. He has received the California Trial Lawyers Association Recognition of Experience Certificate as an experienced trial lawyer. He has been featured in many newspaper articles as well as TV and radio news shows. Mr. Winer has obtained many significant trial results including verdicts such as Rahn v. Lowinger , which resulted in a $7.1 million dollar verdict; Walker v. Parzen (together with co-counsel Marvin E. Lewis) which resulted in a $4.5 million dollar verdict; and Curtis v. Dizmang in which a jury awarded $1.5 million dollars.
The result in the cases above were based on the facts of the particular case, and results will differ if based on different facts. No guarantee, warranty or prediction is being made regarding any particular case or injury.
No inference is intended regarding the dollar amount of any Confidential Settlement listed above. The identity of defendants and locations of cases in the results listed above have often been changed to comply with confidentiality provisions. The facts, general nature of the cases, and the description of the work done by Winer, Burritt & Tillis LLP, remains accurate, as does the amount of the settlements.