Horvitz & Levy convinced the Court of Appeal to affirm a defense judgment in favor of the UC Regents on FEHA claims of discrimination and retaliation.
Dianna Mann sued the UC Regents claiming gender, age, and disability discrimination and retaliation for complaints about discrimination after her administrative analyst position at the UCI Medical Center was eliminated and she was laid off. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and UCI accommodated her health situation numerous times, including a six month leave and intermittent leave while she had treatment. When she was laid off, it was part of a university-wide cost cutting measure designed to save UCI from bankruptcy and collapse, and she was one of nearly 150 people who lost their positions.
The jury returned a general verdict for the UC Regents. Mann appealed and the UC Regents retained Horvitz & Levy to defend the judgment. On appeal, Mann argued the court committed prejudicial error by using a general verdict form and by failing to give the jury more guidance concerning how to complete the form.
The Court of Appeal affirmed in an opinion tracking many of Horvitz & Levy’s arguments. The court held that (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by deciding to use a general verdict form and declining to use Mann’s proposed special verdict forms, which were defective; (2) Mann failed to request a clarifying instruction and the instructions given adequately advised the jury how to reach its decision; and (3) the evidence did not suggest the result would have been different if a special verdict form had been used or further instruction had been given.