IN A LOS ANGELES COURT, A JURY FOUND WITH CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT LEADING FASHION BRAND, ‘CITIZENS OF HUMANITY’ ACTED WITH MALICE, FRAUD, AND/OR OPPRESSION.
Los Angeles, CA (March 17, 2017) – Following a 17-day trial in downtown Los Angeles, a jury ruled favor of a disabled, minimum wage worker who was deemed wrongfully terminated by high-end jeans manufacturer, Citizens of Humanity.
In a challenging case, the jury found with clear and convincing evidence that Citizens of Humanity acted with malice, fraud, and oppression. Noe Abarca, 61, worked as a quality control inspector for six years when his doctor placed him on a work restriction due to a long-term shoulder injury sustained by lifting boxes over the years. The day the restriction ended, the company fired Mr. Abarca. It was ruled that the Director of Human Resources fraudulently stated on the workers compensation form that Citizens of Humanity had first learned of the injury on the day of Mr. Abarca’s termination. Damages amounting to $650,000 were awarded, with a significant $550,000 designated punitive damages. The Court later awarded over $1.2 million in attorney’s fees and costs for a total judgment of $1.830 million.
Following the verdict, Citizens of Humanity appealed both the underlying verdict and the award of fees and costs. Over three years post-verdict, the Court of Appeals affirmed both the verdict and the post-trial award of fees and costs.
Mr. Abarca was represented by Los Angeles attorneys Dan Kramer and Teresa Johnson of Kramer Trial Lawyers, along with Michael Burgis and Zhenia Burgis of Michael Burgis and Associates.
Lead counsel Dan Kramer of Kramer Trial Lawyers said: “a verdict like this will hopefully send a message to the garment industry that management cannot discriminate against any worker regardless of his or her title.”