Design assistant terminated after repetitive injury claim. $210K. Los Angeles County.
Worker reports injury but is not referred to worker's comp.
- Case Name: Cordero v. Catwalk to Sidewalk Inc.
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / VC066042
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, September 26, 2019
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, January 05, 2017
- Type of Action: Discrimination, ADA, Wrongful Termination
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Brian F. Gasdia
- Plaintiffs: Amada Cordero
- Defendants: Catwalk to Sidewalk Inc.
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $210,000
- Economic Damages:
- Non-Economic Damages:
Past pain and suffering: $160,000
- Punitive Damages:
Jury awarded punitive damages after determining that the employer, by and through the owner, engaged in conduct which was malicious and oppressive, and in conscious disregard to the health and safety of Ms. Cordero, including her rights to see a doctor. The evidence presented was that the owner of the company refused to send her to a doctor, repeatedly, despite notice and knowledge she was injured in the workplace. Evidence was submitted that the owner knew employees had rights to workers' compensation benefits to see a doctor, immediately upon notice of a workplace injury, but no steps were taken by the employer or owner before termination. The employee's doctor's note expressly stated for her to be sent to WC doctor. Plaintiff was terminated the day after the owner received the doctor's note.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 5 1/2 hours.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Rodriguez Apodaca Law Firm LLP by Richard A. Apodaca and Chris Gavriliuc, Ontario.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
LPL Lawyers by Jay Hong and Sam Jeon, Los Angeles.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Joann Lister, nurse practitioner, Upland.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff, age 47, was employed for approximately five years, working as a design assistant in the garment industry, for defendant Catwalk to Sidewalk Inc. dba Robin K in Vernon. Over time, plaintiff acquired a repetitive-work injury and purportedly reported the injury to defendant's supervisors and owners. Plaintiff received medical treatment and was given a doctor's note providing her medical restrictions and placing her on light duty. Plaintiff provided the doctor's note to her employer and was thereafter terminated in July 2015. At the time of her termination, she was a part-time worker.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff alleged multiple violations of FEHA, including disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, retaliation, and failure to prevent discrimination. Plaintiff also alleged she was wrongfully discharged in violation of public policy. Further, that the company owner's behavior constituted malice and oppression.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant contended plaintiff was never injured and was never terminated. Defendant also claimed that she was provided an accommodation of leave.
Injuries and Other Damages
Plaintiff alleged pain and suffering damages as a result of the termination.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: Waived.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: Waived.