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L.A. Psychologist Who Didn't Get Tote Bag at Mother's Day Angel Game Files Lawsuit

May 11, 2006|Dave McKibben | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles psychologist who was denied a tote bag during a Mother's Day giveaway at an Angel game is suing the baseball team, alleging sex and age discrimination.

Michael Cohn's class-action claim in Orange County Superior Court alleges that thousands of males and fans under 18 were "treated unequally" at a "Family Sunday" promotion last May and are entitled to $4,000 each in damages.

The targets of the suit are the team and the Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian oversees Bryman College, which has an Anaheim campus and sponsored the event, its name printed on the bags.

Thousands of the red nylon bags were given to women 18 and older attending the Sunday Mother's Day game.

Angel officials said they had not seen the suit, filed May 4, and could not comment. But Angel spokesman Tim Mead said the team was proud of its promotions and giveaway days.

"Historically, we have tried to appeal on those special days that might be nationally noted holidays or special occasions," he said. "We have tailored programs or giveaways accordingly. In the past, we've given the moms roses.... We're trying to satisfy fans of all ages, genders and, most importantly, the baseball fans, so there's something for everybody."

Cohn, who could not be reached for comment, complained to the Angels about unfair treatment in a June letter asking the team and college to pay $4,000 in damages to all males attending the game. The Angels responded by sending Cohn four tote bags and a letter stating that the team "ran out of the item that day and had to order more."

"They claimed they didn't have any more bags, but my client said there was a mountain of bags stacked so high a show dog couldn't have jumped over them," said Alfred Rava, Cohn's San Diego-based attorney.

Angel officials said Cohn's was the only complaint about the giveaway.

This year's Family Sunday promotion, to be held this weekend, will not specifically cater to women 18 and older. The first 25,000 fans -- male or female -- 18 or older will be given a red "Mother's Day Ladies Tote Bag."

Mead declined to say whether the change to this year's promotion was made in response to Cohn's complaint.

"It was done after a lot of internal discussions," he said.

Rava said the giveaway still violated some fans' civil rights because those under 18 will be denied a bag based on their age.

"By looking at the bag, you can see a 17-year-old male or female would be just as happy with it as an 18-year-old male or female," Rava said. "I don't know why the Angels and Bryman College had a seemingly contrived cutoff for this ageless bag."

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