Carney Shegerian: $3.8M Award for LA Employee

A former City of Los Angeles employee who had previously won a disability and race discrimination jury verdict had his nearly $3.8 million award approved last week. The Los Angeles City Council has approved the payout to James Duffy, represented by Carney Shegerian ofShegerian & Associates, Inc., a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm specializing in employee rights.

The council voted unanimously last Wednesday to pay former gardener James Duffy nearly $3.8 million (including accrued interest) in a court judgment that found Duffy suffered years of harassment and retaliation while working for the Department of Recreation and Parks.

“We are very happy that the city has finally approved to compensate Mr. Duffy after his very long ordeal over the last 10 years,” said Shegerian. “Mr. Duffy gave notice to the city while he was still working that he was experiencing severe discrimination, retaliation and harassment based upon his race as well as his mental disabilities. The tragic ending of his career at the hands of defendant’s managers has severely compromised the remainder of his life both economically and emotionally. Thankfully, the city of Los Angeles has agreed to put this matter behind it and pay for the judgment that a jury of our citizens decided back in 2014.”

Duffy, a Caucasian man aged 63, had worked as a gardener for the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks for 20 years. He had claimed that he was forced to retire after a number of discriminatory and harassing incidents perpetuated by his supervisors had taken place. After Duffy suffered a head injury in an on-the-job accident, causing him short-term memory problems, he claimed the discrimination and harassment escalated.

Duffy stated he had complained to the defendants several times about the discrimination and harassment he had endured due to both his racial background and his disability, but the city had taken no action.

After Shegerian helped Duffy achieve his unanimous jury victory in trial court, the city attempted to appeal the verdicts, challenging elements of the case. Finding no errors in the original ruling, the Appellate Court affirmed the judgment in favor of Duffy, and the city council approved payment this week.

“Hopefully this verdict and subsequent payout will further serve to put employers on notice that they cannot discriminate against employees of any race or suffering from disabilities,” added Shegerian.

Shegerian, who was named Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2013, has tried many jury trials to verdict in both state and federal court, representing individuals that have suffered financial or emotional losses and have been wronged by employers, including major corporations. Shegerian has built a remarkable career on helping those who have been wronged in the workplace. He has won 73 jury trials, including 31 seven figure verdicts representing employees.

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