California Employer Obtains Full Defense Verdict And $38,179 In Costs Following Trial On Former Employee’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
By Mulcahy LLP on March 15, 2019
San Bernardino, CA – Long before the advent of the #MeToo Movement, California-based manufacturer Lollicup USA, Inc. had its own “zero tolerance” policy for harassment in the workplace. This policy is made known to new employees on their first day of work and emphatically repeated through trainings, handouts, posters, videos, and other educational materials each year. Indeed, Lollicup takes the issue of sexual harassment very seriously.
In December 2016 – and after working at Lollicup for only eight months – Tiffany Solorzano filed a lawsuit against Lollicup asserting nine causes of action against Lollicup for sexual harassment, disability discrimination, violations of the California Labor Code, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others. Lollicup immediately conducted an extensive investigation and concluded that none of Solorzano’s claims against it were justified.
Lollicup retained the law firm Mulcahy LLP to defend it in the case. The team at Mulcahy LLP immediately went to work researching Solorzano’s background and attacking the holes in her case. They discovered that Solorzano had a colorful background, including an extensive history of suing (or threatening to sue) former employers and others for harassment claims similar to those directed at Lollicup. And, instead of challenging Solorzano’s claims, prior defendants had opted to settle for undisclosed amounts of money. The firm also filed a motion for summary adjudication and successfully disposing of Solorzano’s claims for disability discrimination, wage and hour violations, and wrongful termination. The sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims went to trial.
In August 2018, the parties tried the case before Judge Thomas Garza in the Superior Court of California in San Bernardino County. Mulcahy LLP attorneys Kevin Adams and Phil Carrillo represented Lollicup at trial. Solorzano was represented by the Employment Lawyers Group out of Los Angeles. During the five-day trial, Solorzano asked for more than $900,000 in damages. Her request was ultimately rejected and Lollicup obtained a full defense verdict.
Not only did Lollicup successfully defend the claims, but on March 4, 2019, Judge Garza entered a final judgment in favor of Lollicup in the amount of $38,179 for the costs of having to defend the lawsuit.
Lead trial attorney Kevin Adams commented after trial that he was “proud to represent a client like Lollicup that was not pressured by social norms to pay out a claim that was clearly frivolous.” Lollicup’s willingness to challenge what it viewed as unsubstantiated claims was validated by the final judgment in the case.
Mulcahy LLP is a boutique litigation firm that provides legal services to franchisors, manufacturers and other companies in the areas of antitrust, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, franchise, and distribution laws.