A judge overturned a portion of a jury verdict which awarded damages to three Beverly Hills police lieutenants and a civilian employee who sued the city, finding that the one of the lieutenants was not subjected to harassment.
Lt. Shan Davis was one of four Beverly Hills Police Department employees who alleged they were subjected to harassing and retaliatory treatment by Chief Sandra Spagnoli They were collectively awarded more than $1 million in damages on July 9 by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury.
Attorneys for the employees — three lieutenants and a civilian employee — alleged during the trial that Spagnoli made disparaging comments about gays, Catholics, Jews and Latinos.
The jury awarded Lt. Renato Moreno $350,000 in damages, while Lts. Davis and Michael Foxen and civilian employee Dona Norris, the BHPD’s public safety communications and evidence manager, were each awarded $250,000.
But on Friday, ruling on a defense motion, Judge Elizabeth Feffer concluded there was no evidence Davis was harassed because of his support for Norris, who is gay. She entered a judgment in favor of the city.
“This rarely granted motion is certainly a victory for the city and the chief,” said City Attorney Laurence Wiener. “Although the jury found there was no discrimination as to each of the plaintiffs, they still concluded there was harassment based on several alleged comments the chief made in 2016. The city disagreed with the jury’s finding these alleged statements rose to the level of harassment, particularly as concerned plaintiff Davis. Obviously, the judge agreed.”
The judge denied the city’s same motion regarding Norris.
All of the damages awarded by the jury were to compensate the plaintiffs for past pain and suffering. The panel, which deliberated for about 2 1/2 days, awarded no damages for past and future lost wages.
The jury found that all but Foxen were subjected to harassment and that all but Davis were victims of retaliation. The panel rejected the plaintiffs’ discrimination claims.