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Los Angeles

City to pay $8.1 million to firefighters who sued

August 13, 2009|David Zahniser

The City Council voted Wednesday to pay $8.1 million to two firefighters who won jury awards after they filed discrimination and retaliation lawsuits against the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The council signed off on a $4.8-million payout to Frank Lima, who contended that he had been punished for refusing to make training exercises easier for female employees.

A jury originally awarded Lima $3.75 million two years ago. The amount approved Wednesday includes lawyer's fees, interest and the cost of filing an unsuccessful appeal, said Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who heads the council's Budget and Finance Committee.

The council also voted to pay a judgment to Lewis "Steve" Bressler, who said he was retaliated against for helping a colleague who had alleged racial, sexual and sexual orientation discrimination.

Bressler's original jury award was $1.7 million in 2007. Once the cost of the appeal, attorneys' fees and interest are calculated, the city's total payout in the case will reach $3.3 million. Interest payments alone in the Bressler case reached $444,000 over the two years since the appeal was filed.

-- David Zahniser

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