Orange County Superior Court ( Pre-Filing Settlement)

Orange County Superior Court ( Pre-Filing Settlement)
Result: Confidential Substantial Six Figure Settlement

Irvine, California

Irvine trial lawyer Gregory G. Brown obtained a confidential six figure settlement in a case against a world famous Olympian and performer. The employee was terminated and alleged wrongful termination and other wrongful acts in connection with her employment. The high profile Defendants avoided a contentious and public legal battle in Orange County Superior Court by agreeing to settle the case against them just hours before suit was to be filed. The settlement was reached without filing legal action.

The claimant was employed by the Defendants’ companies for over fourteen years. She was alleged to have been instrumental in developing the businesses into the highly successful enterprises they are today. She had worked 60 – 70 hours per week and was required to travel, often times with her immediate supervisor. The employee claimed that, for more than a decade, she received favorable reviews and raises. While employed, claimant and her immediate supervisor became engaged in a romantic relationship. This issue was never in dispute. Within the first few months, the employee claimed that she tried to break off the relationship, only to be told that she could no longer work at the company if the relationship ended. This is known as “quid pro quo sexual harassment.” It was also alleged that many other efforts to end the relationship occurred, all with the same response.

Thereafter, the relationship was ended. The employee claimed that she was then subject to a hostile work environment. There would be days where there would be no problems at work. On other days, however, the claimant’s supervisor would ridicule her in public, wrongfully criticize her or make inappropriate advances. In one text message, constituting an almost unheard of admission in this area of the law, the supervisor said:

“You’ve been exploited by men all your life and now you can add me to that list. Inappropriate advances will now cease.”

The settlement was more than three (3) times the amount the terminated employee had originally requested as severance, which was approximately one year’s salary. Defendants had offered six (6) month’s salary as a severance and would not negotiate from their first and only offer to claimant while she negotiated with them directly. Upon termination, claimant was presented with a “Severance Agreement” and was advised in writing to seek legal counsel. Claimant hired Gregory G. Brown, a Certified Trial Specialist and partner in the Irvine litigation firm of Brown & Charbonneau, LLP. When Mr. Brown became involved, however, the individual Defendants became combative and began an email and text campaign to discredit the claimant.

Rather than file suit immediately, Mr. Brown made efforts to resolve the case without litigation. The initial settlement demand letter outlined claims for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, breach of contract, sexual harassment, retaliation, hostile work environment, disparate treatment and other employment claims. A “Right to Sue” letter was obtained by the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing. At the suggestion of defense counsel, a professional mediator was hired and multiple mediation sessions took place over a three (3) week period. One mediation session went until 1:00 a.m. at the mediator’s office in Orange County. Ultimately, the meditation stalled and litigation appeared imminent. The lawyers, however, pressed on and negotiated over weekends and, at times, late into the night.

By agreement, the terms of the settlement are confidential. If either party reveals the amount, a five (5) figure liquidated damages clause kicks in and will be assessed against the violating party.