California Supreme Court Affirms Shegerian & Associates’ $16.3 Million Jury Verdict for Former Staples Employee in Age Discrimination Case

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Carney Shegerian of Shegerian
& Associates, Inc
., a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm
specializing in employee rights, received affirmation this week from the
California Supreme Court that the $16.3 million wrongful
termination
and age
discrimination
jury verdict in favor of his client, Bob Nickel,
against defendants Staples Contract and Commercial, Inc. and Staples,
Inc. will stand.

After having its appeal denied by the Court of Appeal in May of this
year, Staples once again appealed the $13 million punitive damages
portion of the judgment before the Supreme Court, but yesterday it was
announced that after extensive review, the court found no reason to
reverse or reduce the award of punitive damages.

Nickel, a 64-year-old man at the time of his termination by Staples, was
employed by Corporate Express since August of 2002 as a facilities
manager. Staples Contract and Staples Inc. acquired Corporate Express in
2008. For 9 years, Nickel received regularly positive reviews for
performing his work in an exemplary manner.

Shegerian represented Nickel in court two years ago, resulting in a jury
decision that found Nickel had been discriminated against and harassed,
based upon his age, by his supervising managers at Staples. The court
announced the award of $16.3 million, made up of $863,416 in economic
damages, $2.4 million in non-economic damages, and $13,053,664 in
punitive damages. Staples unsuccessfully appealed the punitive damages
amount before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Nickel had alleged in his complaint that his managers noted that they
needed to “get rid of” older, higher paid employees. Nickel’s complaint
also explained how he became the regular butt of jokes at staff meetings
and was referred to as “old coot” and “old goat.”

Among the compelling evidence Shegerian presented during the original
trial was the fact that after Nickel refused to resign voluntarily when
prompted to by a manager, he underwent a series of false accusations and
increasing levels of harassment from co-workers and a manager, including
being written up and suspended for “stealing,” after taking a bell
pepper valued at 68 cents from the company cafeteria. Further, a
receptionist had approached Nickel explaining she had been ordered by
management to provide a false statement about Nickel’s conduct but she
refused to do so. Regardless, Nickel was fired on July 29 of 2011.

Shegerian was able to show that this termination was wrongful and had
followed a series of discriminatory and harassing events.

“We’re pleased, honored and humbled that the court once again affirmed
the jury’s decision in this textbook age discrimination case,” said
Shegerian. “It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity to
represent Mr. Nickel, who had a long history of being a hard working,
ethical professional. He held his position of employment for almost a
decade prior to his wrongful termination. He can finally put this
challenging experience behind him. The affirmation of this verdict, and
the justice served for Mr. Nickel will hopefully put employers on notice
that they simply cannot discriminate against employees based on age.”

(Case No. B257420)

Located in Santa Monica, Shegerian & Associates is a law firm
specializing in protecting the rights of employees who have been wronged
by their employers. Richly experienced in labor and employment law and
possessing an unparalleled success record as litigators (Carney
Shegerian, Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner for 2013, has won 73
jury trials in his career, including 31 seven figure verdicts),
Shegerian & Associates is passionately dedicated to serving the needs of
its clients. For more information about the firm, visit
www.ShegerianLaw.com

Media Contact: To arrange interviews about this case with Carney
Shegerian, please contact Paul Williams, 310/569-0023,
paulwilliams@shegerianlaw.com.

Contacts

Shegerian & Associates, Inc.
Paul Williams, 310-569-0023
paulwilliams@shegerianlaw.com

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