Cal. Litig. 2015, Volume 28, Number 3

My First Jury Trial

By Tamara S. Freeze

On November 6, 2014, I was exhausted. After a grueling ten-day employment discrimination trial in downtown Los Angeles Superior Court, I just wanted to sleep and get some non-cafeteria food. My law firm partner, a fresh-faced 2012 Chapman Law School graduate, was pacing back and forth in the Mosk hallway, thinking and rethinking his closing argument. We just wanted a verdict. But waiting for a verdict — that was the hardest part of my first trial.

After one day of deliberations, we got our wish. The plaintiff’s verdict against was 12-0 on a medical-leave violation and 11-1 on all other claims (disability discrimination, failure to prevent disability discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent retaliation)! It was a clean sweep on all five causes of action. When the verdict was read, I was so overwhelmed I had a hard time writing down the numbers and wiping off my joyful tears. The verdict was over $1.3 million, mostly for emotional distress. We represented a 60-year-old woman who had been fired after working 13 years for the defendant.

Looking back, it was a battle hard-fought. When I filed the case, I honestly thought the defendant would settle. However, we did not get any serious offers, with the last offer before trial being $20,000. Well, we had to try the case at that point.

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