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February 2013

Gordon & Rees San Francisco Team WinsDefense Verdict in Discrimination Suit

On Feb. 4, Gordon & Rees partner Michael Laurenson and associate Stephanie Wersel of San Francisco won a defense verdict after a three-week trial in an age, race and disability discrimination suit.

Gordon & Rees’s client Federighi Design Inc., a small business that designs and installs kitchens for high-end restaurants, terminated the plaintiff after 25 years of employment because his bullying behavior caused a co-worker to resign. But plaintiff Rafael Jessie Guajardo, a 45-year-old lead installer who was born in El Salvador, alleged that a recent workplace injury had rendered him "damaged goods" and the company chose to let him go so that it could keep a younger, uninjured employee who made it clear he "did not like taking orders from a Hispanic." Federighi denied the allegations.

The plaintiff sought more than $1 million in past and future wages and emotional distress damages.

In Guajardo v. Federighi Design Inc., a Contra Costa Superior Court jury deliberated for only one hour before returning a defense verdict in favor of Gordon & Rees’s client.
 

Michael A. Laurenson
Stephanie Butori Ulman



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