Court: United States District Court for the Western District of WA at Tacoma
Case No: 3:16-cv-05354RBL
Judge: Hon. Judge Robert Leighton
Hon. William Downing (ret’d) as JAMS mediator – mediation failed maximum offer was $30,000.
Date Filed: 05/12/2016
Date of Verdict: 03/08/2018
Total Amount of Judgment: Jury Verdict $800,000; attorney fees and costs petition pending.
Basic Facts and Claims: Plaintiff Gregory Corliss, worked as a boat salesman for the Defendant from April 3, 2013 until he was terminated on June 2013. Corliss asserts that he was a victim of sexual harassment(shown video of rape scene in the movie ” Deliverance” as part of his orientation, subjected to various sexual requests from his manager, Devi and retaliation claims for filing with the EEOC and L&I.
Damages Awarded: $500,000 for sexual harassment, hostile working environment and retaliation for filing with the EEOC.
$300,000 as punitive damages.
Other: Attorneys fees and costs petition pending.
Expert Witnesses: none
Beverly G. Grant and Elizabeth Lunde for Plaintiff for Plaintiff.
Patricia Rose, Contract Attorney on motions in limine for Plaintiff of Seattle, WA. for Plaintiff
Gregory Hendershott and Matt Jedrewski of Davis Tremaine of Bellevue, WA. for the Defendants
Additional Comments: The defense used the “blame the Plaintiff” as the victim approach as our client had a multitude of serious stressors before he came to work for the Defendants. The judge denied the majority of Plaintiff’s Motions in Limine which dealt with the suppression of Plaintiff’s divorce and child custody matters, DV and DUI’s. The judge granted the majority of the defendants’ Motions in Limine. For instance, the company handbook applied to all 14 locations. Yet, when we had asked to bring in testimony of another employee located at another store who had been the victim of an activity played by Robert Larson, Jr, Vice President of the Corporation, where he and others would throw keys, balls and water filled bottles at the groins of their employees. That employee did bring an action under Larson’s arbitration clause, but we were not allowed to call him. Defense did not bring a motion asking that Corliss’ arbitration clause be upheld and the lawsuit dismissed. Had they done so, Plaintiff would have argued that it was waived and no consideration was given for it. Eventually, Larson Jr. admitted that he had hit the employee and that the employee spoiled the fun by filing a lawsuit. Of course, Bev Grant’s previous lawsuit in 2000 rendering a $1.7 million settlement via EEOC against Larson for similar conduct was not entered into evidence either.