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$15 Million Gender Discrimination Payout by UCLA

Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown, a hematologist and expert in T-cell lymphoma research, claimed she was forced out of her job as director of the UCLA medical school’s lymphoma program after her complaints about age and gender discrimination were ignored. A jury agreed with her sex discrimination and retaliation claims and awarded her $13 million in damages. The jury rejected the 63-year-old doctor's age discrimination claim. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Linfield recently awarded her another $1.8 million in attorneys' fees.

At trial, Pinter-Brown testified she was repeatedly berated for her clinical trial work by a subordinate physician, Dr. Sven De Vos, who also once turned his back to her during a meeting and often interrupted her when she spoke. Pinter-Brown felt she was treated with disrespect and “like the butt of a joke." UCLA argued that in large part the conflict between the two doctors resulted from disagreement over the way clinical trials should be conducted. The jury found Pinter-Brown’s version of events more compelling. 

With respect to the attorneys’ fees, UCLA argued that Pinter-Brown’s attorney’s rates were unusually high and that Pinter-Brown’s case was a "run-of-the-mill case" that also happened to be tried in the midst of the #MeToo movement, likely benefiting the plaintiff. Judge Linfield rejected these arguments. UCLA has appealed, so no compensation for Pinter-Brown or her attorneys has actually changed hands.