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Jury adds to ex-firefighter's harassment award

July 06, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles jury awarded $2,500 in punitive damages Thursday to a former city firefighter who previously won $6.2 million on her claim that she was harassed because of race, gender and sexual orientation.

Brenda Lee, who served at a city fire station in Chatsworth until 2005, said she was harassed at work because she is black and lesbian. Lee, 39, of Mission Hills, won the $6.2-million decision earlier this week from the same Los Angeles County Superior Court jury.

A lawyer for Lee, Genie Harrison, expressed satisfaction with Thursday's decision. Harrison said that the award was made against Lee's supervisor, Fire Capt. Christopher Hare, and that the jury appeared to be taking into account his limited finances.

Frank Mateljan, a spokeswoman for the city attorney's office, said officials were disappointed by the outcome of the case but had not decided whether to appeal.

The case is one in a series of costly verdicts in discrimination suits against the Fire Department.

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