White LA city employee claims racial discrimination against Caucasians. $3.25 million. Los Angeles County.


Los Angeles city gardener, a 63-year-old white man, says Hispanic foreman discriminated against him; that the City regularly discriminated against Caucasian employees in his department.

The Case

  • Case Name: James Duffy v. City of Los Angeles
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court, Central District / BC454369
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, August 12, 2013
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, February 03, 2011
  • Type of Case: Discrimination, Racial, Employment
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Ross M. Klein
  • Plaintiffs:
    James Duffy, 63, gardener
  • Defendants:
    City of Los Angeles
    Abel Perez, Foreman
    Kevin Regan, Assistant General Manager (plaintiff's direct supervisor)
    Laura Bauernseind, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,255,000 in favor of plaintiff on four counts
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 1/2 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 1/2 days
  • Jury Polls: Unanimous in favor of plaintiff on claims of disability and racial harassment, retaliation and discrimination by the City of Los Angeles and three of his supervisors.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Shegerian & Associates by Carney R. Shegerian, Santa Monica.
    Urbanic Law by James Urbanic, Los Angeles.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Office of City Attorney by Stacey Anthony and Jorge M. Otano, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Craig Snyder, Ph.D., forensic psychology, Beverly Hills.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    James Rosenberg, M.D., forensic psychiatry, Woodland HIlls.
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Tamorah Hunt, Ph.D., forensic economist, Santa Ana.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff, a Caucasian man age 63, who had worked as a gardener for the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks for 19 years, claimed that he was forced to retire after a number of discriminatory and harassing incidents by his supervisors had taken place. After Duffy suffered a head injury in an on-the-job accident, causing him to suffer from short-term memory problems, he claimed the discrimination and harassment escalated. Duffy claimed he had complained to the defendants several times about the discrimination and harassment he had endured due to both his racial background and his disability, but the City had taken no action.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That racial discrimination began around 2004 when Defendant Perez became plaintiff's foreman; that Perez and most other workers were Hispanic and Perez discriminated against plaintiff based on race, once stating, "I hate white people" and refusing assistants to plaintiff in his work while providing assistants for Hispanic gardeners. That after his head injury, defendants harrassed him by telling him he had not been given assignments when he had or that he had failed to complete assignments that he had never actually been given.

    That Defendant Bauernseind was upset with plaintiff when he refused to loan $5,000 to Bauernseind and that she falsified documents to make him ineligible for a pay raise.

    That Defendant City of Los Angeles engaged in intentional racial discrimination by maintaining a systematic and continuous policy and goal of firing and demoting Caucasian employees. That the City took no action after plaintiff's numerous complaints about the harrassment he was undergoing.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants denied all of plaintiff's allegations. Defendants denied that they engaged in any discrimination or any other unlawful act. Defendants also denied that they caused plaintiff damages, and they contested the amount of damages plaintiff claimed.