Tech Firm Awarded Costs in Ellen Pao Discrimination Suit


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Ellen Pao will have to pay more than $275,000 to her former employer in fees and costs after losing her employment discrimination suit, a judge ruled Thursday, awarding far less than the firm sought.
     Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers will recoup the money from Ellen Pao after a jury found that Pao’s gender was not the motivating reason for her firing or for not being promoted to senior partner.
     Pao claimed in her 2012 lawsuit that she had been denied a promotion and excluded from business opportunities because she is a woman. The firm fired her five months before she filed suit.
     Jurors took just over two days in March to find Kleiner Perkins not liable for gender discrimination and retaliation against Pao, its former junior partner.
     After the verdict Kleiner Perkins moved to recover more than $900,000 in court fees but offered to rescind the motion if Pao agreed not to appeal.
     Pao then moved to strike the fees and to waiver her rights to appeal if her former employer paid her $2.7 million to cover her own costs.
     In a tentative ruling Wednesday, confirmed Thursday, Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn found that Kleiner Perkins’ offer was made in “good faith” and had a “reasonable prospect of acceptance” when made.
     The ruling significantly reduced the fees Kleiner Perkins requested for its five experts, from more than $800,000 to $228,000. The ruling cited the firm’s “vastly” greater resources as a motivating factor in the reduction.
     In the ruling, Kahn wrote that “the parties are urged to check my math.”
     Kleiner Perkins representative Christina Lee told Courthouse News in a statement: “We’re pleased the court has reached a fair result. This tentative ruling recognizes that our settlement offer was reasonable and made in good faith. It also recognizes the cost rules still apply when a plaintiff refuses a reasonable settlement offer and forces the parties to go through an expensive trial.”
     Pao was represented by Alan Exelrod from Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe in San Francisco.
     Exelrod did not reply immediately to a request for comment.
     

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