Sexual Harassment – Published Settlement

October 24, 1997
Sexual Harassment
  Case I.D. Confidential.
  Los Angeles Superior Central / August 26, 1997.
  Deborah Rothman / American Arbitration Association.
  $173,500 by defendant municipality (subject to approval by its city counsel); $1,500 by individual defendant plus agreement to submit to an HIV test.
  Plaintiff – Jeffrey M. Galen (Warden, Gart & Galen, Encino)
Defendants – Ronald S. Whitaker (Robinson, Dilando & Witaker, Los Angeles).
  The plaintiff, a female in her mid-30s, was a detective in defendant municipality’s police department. The plaintiff alleged that during 1995, the individual defendant, also a detective, performed and escalating series of events including picking her up and carrying her across his shoulders, smelling her hair and giving her unwanted shoulder massages. These events culminated in an incident in which defendant detective picked plaintiff up from behind and bit her on the neck/shoulder area. The plaintiff also alleged that the individual defendant repeatedly signed “Love Doctor” on receipts for sexual harassment training manuals and that a lieutenant observed the defendant lift and carry the plaintiff. Eight months after the events complained of, the plaintiff was given temporary total disability for just over 3 months. She requested that the defendant detective submit to an HIV test, which he declined to do. The individual defendant denied some of the allegations, explained others as “horseplay” and admitted that when the plaintiff said, “All men are dogs,” he playfully bit her, inadvertently breaking the skin. The defendant also contended that many of plaintiff’s damages stemmed from her concurrent divorce and child custody litigation. The plaintiff brought this action against defendants based on sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, Section 1983 civil rights violations, failure to supervise, and assault and battery theories of recovery.
  The plaintiff sought $500,000 for front and back pay, lost sick time and general emotional damages.
  The plaintiff made a demand for $500,000.00. The defendant made an initial offer of $65,000.
  A mediation was held on August 26, 1997 before Deborah Rothman, of AAA, resulting in the reported settlement.
Copyright 1997 Daily Journal Corp. Reprinted with Permission.