Carney Shegerian of Shegerian & Associates, Inc., a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm specializing in employee rights, obtained a complex, $3.25 million unanimous jury verdict on four claims yesterday for his client.

James Duffy was awarded $3,255,000 by a State of California Superior Court jury that unanimously found his claims of disability and race harassment, retaliation and discrimination by his former employer, the City of Los Angeles, and three of his supervisors, to be valid.

Duffy, a Caucasian man aged 63, who had worked as a gardener for the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks for 20 years, 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 to suffer from short-term memory problems, he claimed the discrimination and harassment escalated.

Duffy claimed 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.

“It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity to represent James Duffy,” said Shegerian. “He had an exemplary work record and was known as a hard worker throughout his tenure at the City. Unfortunately, he was a repeated victim of racial and disability discrimination, which only became worse for him when he complained about it to his supervisors. Hopefully this verdict and the justice served will put employers on notice that they cannot discriminate against employees of any race or suffering from disabilities.”

In the case, Duffy claimed discrimination and harassment on the bases of race, ancestry and national origin, and also for retaliation for complaining of discrimination and harassment. In addition, Duffy had alleged claims for discrimination and harassment on the basis of physical and mental disability, and also for retaliation for complaining of discrimination and harassment on the bases of age. He alleged that he had suffered monetary and non-monetary damages.


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