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ARTICLE ID 29748

$________ - AGE DISCRIMINATION - WRONGFUL TERMINATION - CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE - COMPENSATORY AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES CLAIMED BY MALE PLAINTIFF FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AND PRODUCT MANAGER OF DEFENDANT COMPANY.

Los Angeles County, California

The plaintiff in this action was a First Vice President, Project Executive and Project Manager who had been employed for 27.5 years with the defendant Tishman Realty and Construction Company and its California subsidiary at the time of the events out of which the subject lawsuit arose. The plaintiff’s cause of action against the defendant was grounded in theories of constructive discharge and age discrimination. The plaintiff claimed that he was entitled to recover compensatory as well as punitive damages against the defendant for its alleged discriminatory actions.

The plaintiff contended that during the six month period from September, ________, through March, ________, the defendant company’s Chief Executive Officer and the Company’s Chief Operating Officer attempted to force the plaintiff to quit at the age of 56 and gave him various pretextual reasons for their conduct such as: work was slow; they were unable to carry his high salary; and he was responsible for the loss of a project, which the plaintiff claimed was untrue. The plaintiff testified that in the fall of ________, he was called into the office of his supervisor and told that he was going to be given the opportunity to look for a new job as the company was not doing well. The plaintiff related that he was specifically told to consider his salary in the months which were to follow as severance pay. In March of ________, the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital suffering from severe depression. His doctor told him it would be detrimental to his health and would seriously undermine his therapy for him to return to work at the defendant company. In April of ________, the plaintiff resigned.

The plaintiff contended that the defendant company engaged in age discrimination, violating the Fair Employment and Housing Act, by harassing him in an attempt to force him to quit his job with the defendant company. The plaintiff alleged that at the same time that he was advised his position was being phased out in late ________, the defendant started promoting younger people, in their 20’s and 30’s, to positions for which the plaintiff was qualified (such as Project Manager). The plaintiff further contended that he was the subject of age harassment in the form of verbal comments relating to his age, and disparate treatment because of his age at the hands of his co-workers and supervisors. The plaintiff contended that his situation at work became so unbearable that he was forced to resign for the sake of his mental well-being.

The defendants alleged that the plaintiff voluntarily left the company and that he would still be in the defendant’s employ had he not quit of his own volition. The defendant asserted that the positions which the plaintiff maintained were given to younger employees were "lower level" positions and that to place the plaintiff in such a job would be demeaning to him. The plaintiff countered that many other Vice Presidents had worked as "Project p[_ 3 Managers" when required. The plaintiff testified that it was accepted custom to simply go wherever there is work.

The plaintiff’s expert psychiatrist testified that the plaintiff developed a major depressive disorder as a direct result of the defendant’s discriminatory conduct, forcing him to leave the company and rendering him disabled for a several year period. The plaintiff’s condition has improved to the point where he is able to return to work, but he has been unable to find employment. The plaintiff claimed compensatory damages of lost income and benefits for the remainder of his work life, based upon prior earnings, excellent benefits package, salary increases and annual bonuses. The plaintiff additionally claimed he was entitled to recover an amount equivalent to the pension he would have received had he remained employed with the defendant company. The plaintiff additionally claimed he was entitled to recover for the emotional distress suffered as a result of the defendant’s discriminatory actions.

The plaintiff asserted a claim for punitive damages based upon evidence allegedly indicating that the defendant’s discriminatory conduct was intentional. On this issue, the plaintiff offered evidence of the defendant’s net worth. The defendant disputed the net worth figure offered by the plaintiff’s expert economist. The jury found for the plaintiff and returned a verdict of $________, including $________ in punitive damages. Plaintiff’s expert financial analyst/accountant: Jeff Litvak from Parks, Palmer, Turner & Yemendijian in Denver, Co. Plaintiff’s expert economist: Herbert Spiro from the American Valuation Group in Woodland Hills, Ca. Plaintiff’s expert psychiatrist: Robert Gerner from Los Angeles. Plaintiff’s expert psychotherapist: Charlotte Samuels of Los Angeles. Defendant’s expert financial analyst/accountant: Stephen Pierce from Peat Warwick in Los Angeles. Defendant’s expert economist: Michael Ward from Santa Monica, Ca. Defendant’s expert psychiatrist: Allen Enelow from Los Angeles. Robert A. Hunio vs. Tishman. Case no. ________ ________; 11-22-91. Attorneys for plaintiff: Phillip J. Ganz, Jr. and Laurie Susan Gorsline of Valensi, Rose & Magaram in Los Angeles; Attorneys for defendant: Louise Ann Fernandez and Jay A. James of Jeffer, Mangels, Marmaro & Butler in Los Angeles.

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