2005: In Marcisz v. Ultrastar – Before the Suresh Shah sexual harassment case, in a sexual harassment case against UltraStar Cinemas (Movie Theater Entertainment Group) a San Diego jury awarded our clients $6,000,000 (six million dollars) in punitive damages in addition to $850,000 in compensatory damages. UltraStar had knowingly allowed two of its male managers, ages 32 and 22 respectively, to sexually harass the teenage plaintiffs. Some of the harassment included assault, the brandishing of knives, and the use of police restraint holds on the teenage girls. At the time of the harassment, the four plaintiffs were minimum wage workers between the ages of 16 and 17 in their first jobs. After the verdicts were rendered, the trial court ordered a new trial, on the grounds that the awards were too much money.
April 30, 2008: the California Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision taking away the emotional distress damages verdict in favor of four teenager girls, reinstating the verdicts as to these amounts. To review the Court of Appeal’s (unpublished) decision overturning the trial court’s decision, in part, click here. The case was also the subject of the very first PBS NOW television special, which takes an in-depth look at issues facing women in the workplace.