Tech Firm Fights Back|in Gender Bias Case

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A woman who took on a Silicon Valley venture capital firm over gender discrimination – and lost – demanded $2.7 million to drop a planned appeal, the firm claims in a document filed Friday.
     Ellen Pao sued her former employer, venerated venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers in 2012, claiming she had been denied a promotion and excluded from business opportunities because she is a woman. The firm fired her five months after she filed the lawsuit.
     Jurors took just over two days the past March to find Kleiner Perkins not liable for gender discrimination of and retaliation against Pao, its former junior partner.
     Following the verdict, Kleiner Perkins demanded nearly $1 million in costs from Pao – who is now the interim CEO of Reddit. But the firm also agreed to waive its demand if Pao agreed not to appeal.
     Pao’s attorney Alan Exelrod balked at the firm’s demand last month, calling it “grossly excessive and unreasonable,” and filed an appeal earlier this week.
     But in a document filed Friday, Kleiner Perkins said Pao made her own post-trial demand of $2.7 million to cover her costs and attorney fees.
     The firm also argued Pao doesn’t qualify for scaling of expert fees, given her net worth.
     “At the time Pao left KPCB she made $400,000 annually and regularly received annual bonuses over $100,000,” the firm said in its filing. “She also received and continues to receive substantial sums in carried interest from KPCB funds.”
     At Reddit, Pao makes over $200,000 a year and has millions in stock options – and she and her husband own “multiple residences,” the firm said.
     “Given her substantial economic resources, a full award of KPCB’s post-offer costs would be appropriate to achieve the ‘economic consequences’ intended by state law for turning down a reasonable offer,” the firm said.

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