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Michael P. King

Michael King’s Legal Cases

5 total

  • Magnandonovan v City of Los Angeles

    Practice Area:
    Employment & Labor
    Outcome:
    Jury Verdict of $ 1,525,938.00
    Description:
    A former city prosecutor who said she was retaliated against and ultimately fired for reporting misconduct by other attorneys in the office of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has been awarded more than $1.5 million. Lynn Magnandonovan, 55, a 13-year-employee of the city attorney’s office, had been named as head of a new hate crimes unit which was part of a previous gender-discrimination lawsuit she had filed against the city in 1999 which alleged that the city attorney’s office allowed an “an environmental offensive and hostile to females”. She says Delgadillo, now a candidate for state attorney general, retaliated against her and placed her first on administrative leave in December 2001 and then fired her in 2002. Although she was appointed to the new hate crimes position as part of the settlement in the discrimination case, she said that her supervisors refused to allow her to carry out the duties of the office or even attend supervisors’ meetings. In addition to the jury’s award, the city has been order to pay over 2.5 million in attorney's fees and costs. Delgadillo and the city had claimed he was justified in firing her because she was difficult and abrasive and had angered some Superior Court judges. One of her attorneys, Samuel J. Wells, said the verdict was an “indictment of the city attorney’s office. The jury didn’t believe the city witnesses when they said they didn’t retaliate against this woman”. Defendant is currently appealing.
  • Downs v DWP, 58 Cal. App. 4th 1093 (1998)

    Practice Area:
    Employment & Labor
    Date:
    Jan 01, 1998
    Outcome:
    Judgment (order of dismissal) was reversed
    Description:
    APPEAL from a judgment (order of dismissal) of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. David A. Workman, Judge. Reversed. Wells & Thomas and Samuel J. Wells; King, Williams & Hanagami and Michael P. King for Plaintiff and Appellant. James K. Hahn, City Attorney, Thomas C. Hokinson, Chief Assistant City Attorney, Renee J. Laurents and Marie McTeague, Deputy City Attorneys, for Defendants and Respondents. _________________________ A cause of action under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.) must be filed within one year of receipt of a right-to-sue letter from the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH). An employee filed a charge of racial discrimination and harassment against his employer and supervisors with the DFEH and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Pursuant to a worksharing agreement between the DFEH and the EEOC, the charge was processed by the EEOC. The employee filed this FEHA action three months after receiving a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, but more than one year after receiving a right-to-sue letter from the DFEH. The trial court ordered the action dismissed following the sustaining of a demurrer on the ground of statute of limitations. We conclude the one-year statute was equitably tolled during the processing of the employee’s charge by the EEOC. Accordingly, this FEHA action was timely filed. We reverse.
  • Magnandonovan v City of Los Angeles

    Practice Area:
    Employment & Labor
    Outcome:
    Jury Verdict in Excess of 1.5 Million
    Description:
    A former city prosecutor who said she was retaliated against and ultimately fired for reporting misconduct by other attorneys in the office of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has been awarded more than $1.5 million. Lynn Magnandonovan, 55, a 13-year-employee of the city attorney’s office, had been named as head of a new hate crimes unit which was part of a previous gender-discrimination lawsuit she had filed against the city in 1999 which alleged that the city attorney’s office allowed an “an environmental offensive and hostile to females”. She says Delgadillo, now a candidate for state attorney general, retaliated against her and placed her first on administrative leave in December 2001 and then fired her in 2002. Although she was appointed to the new hate crimes position as part of the settlement in the discrimination case, she said that her supervisors refused to allow her to carry out the duties of the office or even attend supervisors’ meetings. In addition to the jury’s award, the city has been order to pay over 2.5 million in attorney's fees and cost. Delgadillo and the city had claimed he was justified in firing her because she was difficult and abrasive and had angered some Superior Court judges. One of her attorneys, Samuel J. Wells, said the verdict was an “indictment of the city attorney’s office. The jury didn’t believe the city witnesses when they said they didn’t retaliate against this woman”. Defendant is currently appealing.
  • Barbera v City of Montebello BC (LA Super. Ct.)

    Practice Area:
    Employment & Labor
    Date:
    May 17, 2005
    Outcome:
    City Settles Sex-Discrimination Suit for $300,000
    Description:
    As reported by the Los Angeles Daily Journal on June 6, 2005 City of Montebello Settles Sex-Discrimination Suit for $300,000 A By Eron Ben-Yehuda A Montebello Fire Department volunteer who worked just 84 hours over three and a half shifts for the city recently settled for $300,000 a claim of gender discrimination. Michele Barbera, age 33 and single at the time, alleged that her supervisors mistreated her because they disapproved of her decision to become roommates with a firefighter who had separated from his wife.Montebello Fire Chief Jimmie Lee Cox allegedly referred to her as a "fire groupie" and worried about a "possible love triangle" disrupting the department's operations.Barbera denied having an intimate relationship with her roommate and colleague Dave Browning during her month-long stint with the department in late 2002. She quit after management barred her from working at the same station house as Browning.. They became roommates when she moved down to Southern California and applied for a position as a volunteer at his department. From the get-go, Fire Department officials in Montebello wrongly assumed Barbera and Browning slept together, Wells says. It's just straight sexism and gender stereotyping," says Wells of Los Angeles. "All of thus because she was a woman who had the temerity to have a male room-mate. None of this would have happened if she had been a male. Barbera started working as an "auxiliary” crewmember in September 2002. The volunteer post is considered a stepping stone" for employment as a firefighter, Wells says. "At the first shift, she thought things were going great," he says. During her next training session, on Sept. 22, she joined a group of firefighters who answered a call of a medical emergency. At the scene, Barbera took a person's vital signs and allegedly "whispered" them to Browning. The crew captain criticized her stating that she was not there to work for "Dave," implying that they were an item. Wells says she announced the vital signs loud enough for the crew's paramedic to hear them, and that's all that's required. The next day she came to work, on Sept 27, she received a memo signed by Cox stating that she was no Ionger allowed to work the same shift as Browning. At his deposition, Cox said the gossip around the station was that Barbera was more than just roommates with Browning. He expressed concern about a "possible love triangle" that might create problems if Browning's wife had dropped off their child at the station. He pointed out that, before the memo was written, department supervisors had not asked either Browning or Barbera if they were romantically involved. "They began to speculate sort of like dirty old men," he says. Cox denied that he called Barbera a "fire groupie," although he said he had, heard her described that way by others. Cox declined a request for an interview. Barbera quit the program Oct. 10, 2002. She filed suit June 16, 2004. The claims she couldn't find another job in the fire service. She applied to several programs without success. Wells says that's because word had gotten around that she had claimed gender discrimination at Montebello. The experience brought on depression, she alleged. Colvin says Wells initially demanded' nearly $1 million to settle Colvin points out how little time she spent at the department. "A lot of people she mentioned in the lawsuit only saw her once," he says. "She never met Chief Cox. "I don't see where she suffered the'. degree of harm she's alleging that she had." Wells concedes that no one ever grabbed Barbera inappropriately or called her names to her face. But Wells says this case shows that, "even attempts at subtle discrimination can’t be tolerated.
  • Carter v City of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

    Practice Area:
    Employment & Labor
    Date:
    Jun 10, 2002
    Outcome:
    City Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
    Description:
    By Betty Pleasant Sentinel Staff Writer Two Employees of the Departmment of Water and Power filed suit against the city of Los Angeles last week, alleging that racial discriminnation is rife at the utility and charged that the two men were harassed on the job because their wives are African American. Carter and Serna, longtime employees of DWP, filed a complaint in Superior Court charging that the City Attorney’s Office has collaborated for years with DWP management to cover up the existence of widespread discrimination in the department. Further, the two men charged that DWP routinely provides sub-standard equipment and service to predominantly black sections of the city. According to their attorneys, Samuel J. Wells and Michael P. King, the Equal Employment Opportunity Service (EEOS) conducted an investigation in 1998 of discrimination complaints African American employees in DWP's "Touble Section." The suit sates that Carter, who broke the code of silence and spoke to the EEOS investigators about racially motivated discrimnation against black employees at DWP during the previous five years. The two men also described the discrimination and harassment they had suffered because of their marriages to African American women and because they openly opposed the racial bias they observed around them in the workplace. The two men charged in their wide ranging complaint that DWP in their lawsuit seven DWP Supervisors as having maintained a practice and policy which provided slower service or no service in neighborhoods which were predominately African American. During a news conference Thursday, Carter, 41, said co-workers joked with him before the Martin Luther King holiday last year that they should kill another African American to get another day off. "My response was, Which one of my kids would you like to kill for another holiday?'" Carter said. Carter said he then became the target of racial jokes and threats after his co-workers learned his wife is African American. Serna, 44, said that while on a lunch break with his wife, a super-visor told him that another worker reported seeing him in the conference room with a "black hooker." The suit alleges that both men became the targets of open death threats on the job and were removed from the workplace in April 1999 and placed on administrative leave for their own good. Deputy City Atty Dan Lowenthal, who handles DWP cases, expressed surprise upon learning of Carter and Serna's charges that the DWP discriminates against the black community.” This is the first time I've ever heard that allegation," Lowenthal said.” I know that the two men claim they were personally discriminated against, but I have never heard any-thing about the agency providing poor equipment and poor service to black neighborhoods until I read it in the media last week," Lowenthal continued."Such a practice is shocking to the conscience and something DWP would certainly disavow. Since the two men have made these charges, perhaps now an investigation will be launched," the deputy city attorney said.