Thursday, 05 Jul, 2007 Politics

Six Million Dollars Won in Lawsuit over Urine in Mouthwash


A firefighter harassed by her colleagues because of her race and sexual orientation has been awarded $US 6.2 million by a Los Angeles jury. The woman claimed one of her insulters added urine in her mouthwash.

In her lawsuit against the Los Angeles Fire Department, Brenda Lee claimed she many times suffered humiliating comments made by her superiors who also forced her to perform strenuous tasks without proper protective measures.

This lawsuit's payout became the largest among the recent settlements of cases that concerned discrimination of women and minorities within the same Fire Department. The panel has been ordered back to court tomorrow for the second part of the trial. The panel will decide whether Brenda Lee's former supervisor, Captain Christopher Hare, must be awarded punitive damages. Rob Kitson, the woman's lawyer, made no comment on the case as it was ongoing.

Prior to Brenda's case, the jury already tried separately the lawsuits of two other firefighters who brought the discrimination lawsuits and won jury awards. In April, Lewis Bressler was awarded $US1.7 million. The man was pushed to retire for supporting Brenda Lee in her claims of discrimination. The jury also found in favor of Gary Mellinger who claimed the department was taking revenge on him after he helped Lee. The man settled with the city for $US350,000.

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