Mr. De Peralta was celebrating his upcoming wedding with friends when he fell playing basketball and twisted his knee. Immediately Mr. De Peralta knew that something was wrong, and in fact, doctors later diagnosed him with a tear in his knee and informed him that he needed surgery. When Mr. De Peralta told his boss, the executive chef at a restaurant in Pasadena, he assumed he would be able to shift from working in the kitchen as a sous chef to administrative tasks while he healed. Instead, less than two weeks after he got married, Mr. De Peralta received an email from the restaurant chain’s regional manager informing him that the restaurant was terminating him.
The termination caused Mr. De Peralta to become depressed and anxious, as he had truly loved his job and was looking forward to a long career in the restaurant industry. In what should have been the happiest time of his life, Mr. De Peralta was concerned about money and getting a new job to support his new family. Although ultimately Mr. De Peralta was able to secure a new position at a restaurant, the memory of being fired stayed with him.
The defense came into litigation very aggressively, trying to avoid as much liability and damages exposure as possible. At every turn, however, KTL and co-counsel Pierre LaCour PC were able to fight back and hold the defendants’ feet to the fire.
The parties went to mediation on a few occasions before trial but were not able to settle. The defense would not go above $100,000 and refused Mr. De Peralta’s lowest demand of $189,999.99. Thus, the parties proceeded towards trial, which was originally set in April 2019, and then re-set for February 2020. Just months before trial, the defense again asked if Mr. De Peralta was willing to mediate. With certain parameters to mediation in place as demanded by KTL and Pierre LaCour, the parties were able to reach a settlement of $920,000 only weeks away from trial.
Given the initial low offers, this settlement represented a huge victory on behalf of Mr. De Peralta.