Judgment In Sexual Harassment Case Against FedEx
$4,461,636.40 — Judgment in Sexual Harassment Case Against FedEx
Two employees who alleged that they were sexually harassed by a co-worker brought a case against FedEx. The case resulted in a total verdict of $2,328,000, plus an award of attorney fees and costs, raising the total judgment to $4,461,636.40.
The first plaintiff, Kolainia Hettick, was a 20-year-old handler when the harassment started. She alleged that the co-employee perpetrator romantically pursued her against her wishes. His conduct escalated to the point where it became stalking-like behavior. Despite numerous complaints to management, FedEx did little or nothing to stop the harassment from occurring. Jana Bryant, a second victim, alleged that the perpetrator blamed Jana for Kolainia’s lack of interest in the perpetrator and began harassing Jana through obscene gestures and threatening language. Jana complained about the harassment, but her complaints were not taken seriously. FedEx refused to take the complaints seriously while the two plaintiffs and defendant were forced to work together, and took the position during the litigation and trial that the perpetrator’s conduct did not rise to the level of actionable sexual harassment, the plaintiffs received no injury, and FedEx did nothing wrong in failing to take more corrective action.
Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP partners, John D. Winer and Alexis McKenna, tried the case, and overcame FedEx’s defenses to achieve a verdict of $1,298,000 on behalf of Kolainia Hettick and a $1,030,000 verdict on behalf of Jana Bryant. Two million dollars of the total verdict was for punitive damages to punish FedEx for its malicious, oppressive misconduct.
Under California law, since plaintiffs prevailed in a highly disputed sexual harassment case, they were entitled to seek recovery for attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the plaintiffs and Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP in pursuing the case. This was an intensively litigated case which resulted in an attorneys’ fee award of $1,916,432.62, an award of case costs of $205,342.02, and pre-judgment interest in the amount of $11,861.92.
The court found the above fee and cost award was warranted given the difficulty of the case and the outstanding result received by the law firm on behalf of plaintiffs.
TOTAL JUDGMENT: $4,461,636.40 on behalf of plaintiffs
*Many of the cases that Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, has settled are highly confidential. In order to provide consumers with an accurate list of settlements, we have accurately stated the amount of the settlement and the facts of the case, but we have changed the location of the cases and the industry of the companies we have sued to make the identification of the actual company impossible.