Former Los Angeles Times columnist and  T.J. Simers has finally reached a resolution in his ongoing legal complaint against his longtime employer.  The former ESPN Around the Horn contributor has emerged victorious in the age and disability discrimination suit and will receive a handsome payday.  Just how handsome?  Try to the tune of $7.1 million.

The website Law360 was first to report the details of the decision in the case.  If you’ll recall, the polarizing veteran columnist alleged that the Times dumped him in favor of younger and likely much less expensive writers in a trial that featured a star-studded list of SoCal sports personalities.

The article is behind a paywall, but the key details to emerge are the following:

* It took the jury two days of deliberation after a six week trial to rule in favor of Simers, finding that the Times discriminated against him because of his age and a mini-stroke in 2013.

* Simers was awarded just over half of the amount he was seeking in damages.  Simers was given $7.1 million of the $12.2 million his attorneys were asking for.

*  The Times tried to fight back against Simers’ claim by saying that there were ethical issues centering around a video he shot with his daughter and Dwight Howard for a potential television script.

* The court ruled in Simers’ favor through finding that the paper tried to reduce his workload and potentially force him out and that age and disability discrimination was a factor in his situation.

It’s a huge victory for Simers after a prolonged legal battle.  It will be fascinating to see the ripple effect throughout the entire media industry, and not just in the sports world.  It’s no secret that it’s a painful time for plenty of media companies with shrinking budgets and layoffs happening all over the place.  Just today Philadelphia papers suffered layoffs.  It’s also no secret that there are plenty of older writers making a lot more money (Simers made reportedly well over $200k in salary) than their younger counterparts.  To put the settlement in perspective, Simers would have to work 30 more years to earn $7 million in salary.

It would seem that those two realities standing in obvious tension will push against each other even more than they have previously all over the country in light of these events.


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