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December 2019

California Employment Litigation Team Prevails with Complete Defense Verdict After Five-Week Trial Against Claims of Racial Discrimination

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Oakland partner Mike Laurenson and San Diego partners Jim McMullen and Justin Michitsch received a complete defense verdict after a five-week trial in Alameda Superior Court in Oakland. The plaintiffs, who were represented by prominent San Francisco attorney Angela Alioto, were six African American longshoremen who alleged that Gordon & Rees' client, a terminal operator at the Port of Oakland, had created a hostile work environment by not doing enough in response to what they claimed was a rash of racially-motivated incidents.

The pretrial demand was $6-7 million. Supported by staff from both offices, the Gordon & Rees trial team argued that the incidents were largely manufactured and that regardless their client had responded appropriately and provided a hospitable environment for its employees. The jury deliberated for only a half day before finding in favor of Gordon & Rees' client on all claims.

Michael A. Laurenson
James McMullen
Justin M. Michitsch