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After eight years of battling Dee Kotla, the University of California’s Board of Regents is ready to close the book. The board decided not to appeal a March $2.1 million wrongful termination verdict favoring Kotla, a former lab worker who claimed she was fired in 1997 for testifying in support of a co-worker’s sexual harassment suit. Patricia Gillette, the Heller Ehrman partner who represented the lab on behalf of the UC Regents, said the Regents were willing to pay. Kotla initially won a $1 million verdict from the lab in 2002. When the lab appealed, San Francisco’s 1st District Court of Appeal threw out the testimony of an expert witness and sent the case back. But Kotla won the second jury trial, too — this time winning $2.1 million. In April, the lab’s attorneys asked Superior Court Judge Patrick Zika to set aside the jury verdict and grant a new trial. But they have since agreed to pay Kotla the full amount, plus $45,000 in interest. Kotla’s attorney, Gary Gwilliam of Oakland, Ca., said the lab still owes Kotla legal fees, which he guessed would be double the verdict amount. In a statement, Gwilliam said, “The lab now concedes Dee Kotla was right.” Not so, says Gillette. “She was not fired [in retaliation],” she said. “The lab made a business decision.”

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