SBD/14/Leagues Governing Bodies

JURY RULES AGAINST NBA, AWARDS FEMALE REFEREE $7.85M IN SUIT

          A federal court in N.Y. Thursday "found the NBA guilty
     of sex discrimination for denying" Sandra Ortiz-del Valle, a
     Manhattan high school physical education teacher, "a chance
     to become one of the league's referees," according to Peter
     May of the BOSTON GLOBE.  The U.S. District Court jury
     deliberated for two days before awarding nearly $8M to
     Ortiz-del Valle.  The NBA said it would appeal.  Ortiz-del
     Valle sued the NBA in the spring of '96 "after she was
     repeatedly told there was no position for her."  She had
     "extensive" refereeing experience in several pro-am leagues,
     in the USBL and as an official in a preseason camp with the
     Nets.  In the ruling, $7M of the $7.85M award was for
     punitive damages.  The jury also awarded Ortiz-del Valle
     $100,000 for lost wages and $750,000 for emotional distress
     (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/10).  In N.Y., Benjamin Weiser reported
     that the verdict "marks the first time the league has lost a
     discrimination case in court."  NBA Chief Legal Officer
     Jeffrey Mishkin: "Here is a finding that the N.B.A.
     discriminates against women in the hiring of officials, and
     we are the only league that has them" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/10).  
          MALE REFS BUY TIME? In S.F., Jorge Ortiz wrote the NBA
     "may have averted an immediate nightmare when several of the
     veteran referees currently under investigation by the IRS
     signed documents allowing them to work in the postseason and
     proceed with their cases afterward" (S.F. EXAMINER, 4/12). 

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