Salesman fired in retaliation after complaints of racial harassment. $822K. Los Angeles County.

Summary

African-American beverage salesman says his Korean-American supervisor racially harassed him.

The Case

  • Case Name: Jimmy Saxton v. Hip Hop Beverage Corp. et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles County / BC624909
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, March 27, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, June 23, 2016
  • Type of Action: Discrimination, Racial, Employment, Wrongful Termination
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Joanne O'Donnell
  • Plaintiffs:
    Jimmy Saxton, 40, salesman.
  • Defendants:
    Hip Hop Beverage Corp., Pit Bull Energy Products, Inc.
    Herbert Hudson, Owner/CEO of Hip Hop.
    Roger Jackson, President of Sales and Operations for Hip Hop.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $822,400
  • Net Verdict or Award: $822,400
  • Economic Damages:

    Unpaid wages: $31,200

    Lost wages from firing: $31,200

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Emotional distress: $10,000

  • Punitive Damages:

    $750,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 11 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 on the harassment claim, 12-0 failure to prevent, 12-0 negligent retention, 12-0 unpaid wages, 10-2 wrongful termination, 11-1 punitive damages.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: For plaintiff: Motion for costs, expert fees and attorney fees and new trial/appeal on Herbert Hudson.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Cummings & Franck PC by Lindsey Crismon, Catherine Phan, Scott Cummings and Lee Franck, Gardena.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Glen H. Mertens, La Canada.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Craig Snyder, Ph.D., psychology, Brentwood.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Daniel Howard, economics, Encino.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Jimmy Saxton is African American. He was employed by Hip Hop Beverage Corp. and owner Herbert Hudson as a salesperson, selling Pit Bull energy drinks and other items. His employment began in March 2012 and ended in December 2015. One of his supervisors was Korean and allegedly harassed him and, when plaintiff complained, plaintiff was fired.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contends he was subjected to racial harassment, including being called racial names by his Korean supervisor, as well as others and, when he complained he was fired in retaliation. Plaintiff also contended a failure to pay his wages, failure to reimburse his mileage and other work expenses and, that as a result, he was owed unpaid wages as well as damages from the harassment and wrongful termination claims.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants contended there was no harassment and he was not wrongfully fired. Further, defendants claimed he was paid all the money he was owed.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff claimed unpaid wages, lost wages from the firing and emotional distress.

  • Plaintiff also sought punitive damages.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $350,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $13,000

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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