The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a Court of Appeal of California decision upholding a reduction of the punitive damages awarded to a former supermarket employee in a sexual harassment case.
Previously, a Ventura County jury had found that James Stevens, who was working as an inventory-control clerk in a Vons supermarket, had been sexually harassed and later fired for pursuing his case at work and with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
The jury awarded Stevens $16.2 million in punitive damages in addition to $1.2 million in compensatory damages under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. However, the trial court reduced Stevens’ award.
In January of 2009, a Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District upheld the reduction of the jury’s punitive damages award and rejected Stevens’ claim that the court had abused its discretion.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the reduction to stand.