Jury Awards L.A. Times Columnist $15.4M In Discrimination Lawsuit
An L.A. jury awarded former L.A. Times sports columnist T.J. SIMERS $15.4M in damages against the newspaper for "discrimination against him because of his age and disability," according to Richard Winton of the L.A. TIMES. Simers' claim is that after 22 years at the L.A. Times, he was "demoted from columnist to writer" in '13 when he "developed health problems." A jury in '15 had awarded Simers $7.1M in "economic and non-economic damages, but the judge overseeing that trial threw out much of the judgment." Both Simers and the L.A. Times "appealed the trial judge's ruling." L.A. Times VP/Communications HILLARY MANNING said the publication is "currently evaluating" its "legal options." One of Simers' attorneys, CARNEY SHEGERIAN, said that yesterday's verdict after an eight-day trial was for "non-economic damages, including personal and emotional suffering, as a result of his treatment by the company." Simers was "initially diagnosed as a mini-stroke" in March '13. He "later was diagnosed with complex migraine syndrome." Simers said that after his health problems surfaced his work "came under increased scrutiny and criticism by the newspaper’s two top managers." The L.A. Times "cut Simers’ three weekly columns to two." The next month, Simers was "suspended with pay" after it was reported that he and TV producer MIKE TOLLIN were "developing a comedy based loosely on the writer’s life" (L.A. TIMES, 8/20).