Last night, the news broke about former Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers winning an age discrimination lawsuit against the paper and being awarded $7.13 million dollars. Not surprisingly, the paper has announced that it will appeal the verdict.
Simers sued the paper after losing his job in late 2013 alleging the Times fired him after he suffered a mini-stroke while covering a Spring Training game earlier in the year and he was subjected to discrimination.
The Times says Simers quit after he was disciplined for not disclosing an outside business relationship with a TV producer to launch a sitcom based on his career.
However, the jury deliberated for two days and determined that Simers was indeed discriminated against because of his age. For its part, the Times says it did not agree with the verdict and plans to appeal the award:
“We believe the allegations Mr. Simers made against the Los Angeles Times are unfounded, and we are filing an appeal,” said Hillary Manning, a spokeswoman for The Times. “Our editors acted to protect the integrity of the newspaper and to uphold fundamental principles of journalistic ethics. We will continue to work through the legal system to resolve this matter.”
Simers had been with the paper for 23 years first joining as a reporter and then becoming a columnist in 2000, earning $234,000 annually for writing three weekly columns. He was originally seeking $18 million in damages, but later lowered that to over $12 million. The jury did give Simers less than half of what he had requested:
Jurors awarded him $330,000 for past lost wages, $1.8 million for future economic damages and $5 million for past and future emotional pain and suffering. The panel declined to award punitive damages.
The Times said Simers had lost the trust of the editors and staff after his ethics violation, but for his part, Simers said his editors knew of the outside relationship and even approved of his wanting to launch a TV career. However,