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A Santa Clara County, Calif., judge has fined Cypress Semiconductor Corp. and its law firm, Littler Mendelson, nearly $88,000 for failing to name more than 20 witnesses during the discovery phase of a sexual harassment case. Superior Court Judge Richard Turrone levied the penalty after a mistrial was declared in a case filed by former Cypress employee Margo Kearney. Just days before the trial was to begin in late February, defense attorneys presented 22 new witnesses who weren’t identified during discovery. Cypress was “not complete or straightforward or truthful, because it excluded any mention of the 22 persons whom Cypress listed as witnesses a few weeks later,” Turrone wrote. “Cypress and its counsel knew that the 22 had relevant knowledge; yet they failed to disclose the witnesses’ identities, addresses and telephone numbers.” “Cypress and its counsel have abused the discovery process … monetary sanctions are mandated,” the judge wrote. The fines will cover the plaintiff’s attorney fees and costs in preparing for trial. A jury was seated shortly before Turrone declared a mistrial. “This was clearly an attempt at trial by sabotage,” said Kearney’s attorney, Valerie O’Dell of Oakland, Calif.’s O’Dell & O’Dell. “It’s just completely wasted time. By failing to disclose 22 witnesses they put us at a disadvantage. The point of the discovery process is to learn what they will say … and we were facing 22 witnesses without an inkling as to what they would be testifying about.” O’Dell said that she never had a similar experience in her 23 years of practicing law and that she was “disgusted” at the tactics. “You gear up for trial and you are ready to go,” she said. “Everything is in order and then the trial is over before it’s begun. It’s devastating for the client because they’ve been waiting for a year and a half.” A new trial date will be set in October, O’Dell said. She is trying the case alongside George Leal of San Francisco’s Chan, Doi & Leal. The Littler partners involved in the case, Alan Carlson and Nancy Pritikin, did not return calls Friday. Kearney alleges that she was sexually harassed by two supervisors from October 2001 through February 2002. She claims she was inappropriately touched and subjected to unwanted advances. In one instance, she claims a supervisor opened her jacket and placed his hands on her hips. She left the company on disability in July 2002 and was terminated in October 2002, O’Dell said. Cypress, a manufacturer of computer semiconductor chips, is based in San Jose. The case is Kearney v. Cypress Semiconductor Corporation, 02-811079.

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