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EMPLOYMENT On-call worker not utilized after she complained of gender bias A stress counselor for emergency workers who claimed she was retaliated against based on a memo to a supervisor complaining of gender discrimination was awarded $650,000 in noneconomic damages by a District of Columbia federal jury on May 25. Andrea Zojourner had a two-year, on-call contract with the stress management cadre of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, now a division of the defendant Department of Homeland Security. In June 1995, while working at the Northridge, Calif., earthquake site, she submitted the memo, which said, among other things, that male stress managers made more than their female counterparts and were promoted more often. The next day, she was told to clean out her desk. She was never called again and her contract wasn’t renewed. A claim for back pay is pending. Case/Court/Date: Zojourner v. Ridge, No. 1:2001 CV 02358 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), May 25, 2004 Plaintiff’s attorneys: Michael L. Spekter, Washington, D.C.; Brian C. Plitt, Washington, D.C. Defense attorneys: Kristen Shedd, general counsel, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Washington, D.C.; Diane Sullivan, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Washington, D.C. MOTOR VEHICLE While stopped in traffic, plaintiff struck by U.S. Postal Service truck The United States was hit with a $449,956 verdict arising out of a rear-ender by one of its postal trucks. In May 2001, plaintiff Edwin Ndbusi, a then 44-year-old liquor store owner, was driving his minivan on 16th Street, N.W., in the District of Columbia. While stopped in traffic, he was hit by the truck. Claiming a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee requiring surgery and a herniated lumbar disc, he sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The government conceded negligence, yet argued that the injuries were not caused by the collision but were degenerative in nature. A federal jury in the District of Columbia on Feb. 19 awarded $51,000 for medicals, $3,956 for property damage, and $395,000 for pain and suffering. Case/Court/Date: Ndbusi v. United States, No. 1:02 CV 02145 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), Feb. 19, 2004 Plaintiff’s attorney: Allan Siegel, Chaikin & Sherman, Washington, D.C. Defense attorney: Wyneva Johnson, assistant U.S. attorney, Washington, D.C. MOTOR VEHICLE School bus rear-ended vehicle carrying teen-ager A teen-ager who sustained a broken femur, a fractured pelvis, and a lacerated spleen as a result of a car accident with a school bus was awarded $150,000 by a Virginia jury on April 6. Due to a previous judgment entered for medical expenses and a reduction in the award for future medical expenses, the child and his mother will net $171,000. On April 26, 2001, Andrew Roth, 14, was a passenger in the back seat of his father’s Jeep Cherokee when, while stopped on a freeway off-ramp, it was rear-ended by a Fairfax County school bus. Roth and his mother sued the school board and driver Dominic Chick. Chick claimed immunity under a law requiring gross negligence in order for a municipal employee to be liable. The school board maintained that liability should be capped at $50,000, also in accordance with state law. Case/Court/Date: Roth v. Chick, No. 213672 (Fairfax County, Va., Circuit Court), April 6, 2004 Plaintiff’s attorneys: Andrew Simpson, Alexandria, Va.; Thomas Curcio, Dunn, Curcio & Keating, Alexandria, Va. Defense attorneys: Ingo Burghardt, Hunton & Williams, McLean, Va.; Richard A. Yeagley, Siciliano, Ellis & Boccarosse (for USAA Insurance Co., uninsured motorist carrier for plaintiffs), Fairfax, Va. CONTRACTS Broker defaulted on loan, guarantor sought balance on note A principal in a securities brokerage firm was awarded less than a third of the damages he claimed on a promissory note for which he agreed to be the guarantor. A jury found for Wayne Lee in his breachof contract suit, but only awardedhim $39,908.26, although he claimed $155,000 in damages for the principal balance on the note, late fees, interest, and attorney fees. Defendant Preston Mulford, a broker who worked at Lee’s firm, defaulted on the $195,000 note from Cardinal Bank, which had lent him money to satisfy an arbitration award against him for mishandling client funds. Mulford filed a counterclaim that Lee fraudulently induced him into signing the note. Case/Court/Date: Lee v. Mulford, No. 02-870 (Arlington County, Va., Circuit Court) , Feb. 12, 2004 Plaintiff’s attorney: Aaron Book, Reed Smith, Falls Church, Va. Defense attorney: Harry Mulford, Centreville, Va. Editor’s Note: These jury verdicts were collected and reported by VerdictSearch, an American Lawyer Media affiliate serving lawyers in the D.C. area and nationwide. More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch National reporter or at www.VerdictSearch.com. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call 1-800-832-1900. To submit a case, call (212) 313-9180, fax (212) 313-9145, e-mail [email protected], or use the form at www.VerdictSearch.com/submit.

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