Young managers engage in age discrimination of long-time employee. $31M. Los Angeles County.


Young managers want to move out a long-time employee.

The Case

  • Case Name: Rael v. Sybron Dental, et al
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC 584 994
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, June 26, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, June 12, 2015
  • Type of Case: Employment, Wrongful Termination
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Susan Bryant-Deason
  • Plaintiffs:
    Codie Rael, 54, buyer/planner.
  • Defendants:
    Sybron Dental
    KaVo Kerr Group
    Kerr Corporation
    Ormco Corporation
    Danaher Corporation
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $31,089,793
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Phase 1: $3,089,793

    Phase 2: Sybron Dental Specialties – $16,000,000; KaVo Kerr Group – $12,000,000

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:


  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 days.
  • Jury Polls: 9-3

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Shegerian & Associates by Carney R. Shegerian, Anthony Nguyen  and Mark Lim, Santa Monica.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Seyfarth Shaw LLP by Jon D. Meer, Jamie C. Pollaci and Pantea Lili Ahmadi, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Craig Snyder, Ph.D., psychology, Beverly Hills.

    Heather Halpern, LCSW, South Pasadena.

    David Glaser, M.D., psychiatry, Encino.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):


  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Tamorah Hunt, MBA, Ph.D., economics, Santa Aana.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff was a 35-year employee and at the time of her separation at 54 years of age.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff claimed that she was subjected to age discrimination and retaliation and forced to resign after defendants failed to take any action to remedy her working environment after she raised complaints of mistreatment; that after all of her colleagues in her department were forced out (all over the age of 40), she was refused training (despite younger employees freely receiving training). She was accused of being “resistant to change,” “outdated,” and part of the “old culture,” among other age-based comments, after a new and younger manager came into the picture.

    That plaintiff's record was stellar until new direct supervisor Fernando Estavillo (“Estavillo”) and his supervisor Mark Valiquette (“Valiquette”) began at the defendant company. That plaintiff’s work load was suddenly increased, and she was treated differently (and noticeably) by her supervisors compared to younger employees, denied her applications for higher positions under false pretenses in favor of a younger employee and told by Estavillo, who was under 40 years of age, “We just didn’t want you.”

    Also, that all defendants were direct, indirect, single, and/or joint employers of plaintiff. 

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants denied that plaintiff was forced out and contended that she voluntarily left her employment.

Additional Notes

The case was initially handled on the defense side by Klinedinst PC, before Seyfarth Shaw substituted in on February 14, 2017.