The California Supreme Court may be feeling some pregancy discrimination fatigue.
Six weeks after handing down its blockbuster decision in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, the high court on Wednesday said no thanks to a bitterly fought contest between Angela Alioto and Altshuler Berzon on one side and Lucasfilm Ltd. on the other.
Instead, the court left intact an appellate decision that wiped out Julie Gilman Veronese's $113,830 jury award and a $1.1 million attorney fee, sending it back to Marin County Superior Court. Veronese, Alioto's daughter-in-law, alleges that Lucasfilm withdrew a job offer after learning she was expecting twins and that one had miscarried.
Plaintiffs counsel had warned that Justice James Richman's opinion in Veronese v. Lucasfilm Ltd. carved a dangerous exception into discrimination law by excusing employers who had well-meaning concerns about the health of a fetus. It will make it "far more difficult for victims of discrimination to prove their claims," they argued — not only pregant women, but older and disabled workers as well.
Lucasfilm's attorneys, Steven Drapkin at the Law Offices of Steven Drapkin and Paul Cane of Paul Hastings, had called the argument exaggerated, and countered that Harris compelled a new trial anyway on Lucasfilm's motives.
None of the justices voted to grant review the case.