Pao Balks at $1M Demand by Silicon Valley Firm

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Attorneys for Ellen Pao, plaintiff in a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, have objected to the firm’s post-trial request for nearly $1 million in costs.
     In a motion filed May 8, Pao’s attorney Alan Exelrod called the amounts Kleiner Perkins seeks to recover “improper under the law” and “grossly excessive and unreasonable.”
     Pao, a former junior partner at Kleiner Perkins, alleged in her 2012 lawsuit that she’d been denied a promotion because she’s a woman. The suit sparked a nationwide conversation on how women are treated in the tech industry.
     A jury found the company not liable in March.
     In a document filed in San Francisco Superior Court on April 22, Kleiner Perkins requested to recover costs in the case but offered to waive them if Pao agrees not to appeal.
     Kleiner Perkins said costs – for filing, holding a jury trial, witness fees and depositions, among other expenses – totaled $972,814.50.
     To recover the costs, Kleiner Perkins must prove that Pao’s case was frivolous or malicious, which it was not, said Exelrod, of Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, in his motion.
     A majority of the costs-about $860,000-come from expert witnesses who testified during trial.
     “Much of the expert fees are unreasonable and unnecessary, particularly when compared to the expert fees of plaintiff’s experts,” Exelrod said.
     He requested that the court deny the entire cost request.
     “If the court does award any costs, plaintiff requests that the court tax or strike unnecessary and unreasonable costs, including trial transcripts and excessive expert fees and costs,” he said.
     Neither Pao’s attorneys nor Kleiner Perkins returned requests for comment by deadline.
     Contact Arvin Temkar at sanfran@courthousenews.com.

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