March 13, 2013

Los Angeles trial judge vacates $7.7 million punitive damages award against producers of "The Price is Right"

Last November we reported about a Los Angeles jury's award of $777,000 in compensatory damages and $7.7 million in punitive damages in a pregnancy discrimination suit brought by a former model on "The Price Is Right."  We predicted at the time that the punitive damages award was not likely to survive through posttrial motions and appeal.

Our predictions haven't always come true, but this time we got it right.  Law 360 reports (subscription required) that the trial judge has vacated the entire verdict and ordered a complete new trial on all issues.  The judge, Kevin C. Brazile, ruled that he had incorrectly instructed the jury on the standard to be applied in determining whether the producers of The Price is Right discriminated against the plaintiff.  The instructions failed to reflect the California Supreme Court's recent holding in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, which requires a showing that the employer's action was "substantially motivated" by discrimination.

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Los Angeles jury awards $7.7M in punitive damages to former "The Price is Right" model; try to guess the final award without going over