What NOT to do if you are sued for Sexual Harassment

First and foremost, don’t make things up and don’t bribe witnesses.

Case in point:

A female executive of a Georgia based mortgage company sued the company for sexual harassment and assault asserting that the CEO had, among other wretched acts, groped her in front of other employees.  As part of its defense, the company provided the court with a declaration from a witness that vehemently contradicted the woman’s claims.  A VP of the company claimed that he was present when the witness signed the declaration. Which might have been a problem for the plaintiff except that the declaration turned out to be a complete fabrication and the signature a forgery.  And it turns out the company gave a new Lexus to the cooperative VP shortly after he had “witnessed” the signing of the declaration.  Oops.

The judge on the receiving end of this “evidence” was not amused.  He issued what he called the “ultimate sanction” against the company by declaring a default verdict in favor of the plaintiff (meaning that the judge found that the company was liable for all the claims alleged against it and the jury would not be asked to decide whether the company was liable or not).  Instead, the judge read the complaint to the jury and told them they must accept as fact a string of allegations of gross sexual misconduct committed by the CEO intended to humiliate and demean the plaintiff.  Then the judge asked the jury to determine the damages to be awarded to the plaintiff.

The jury awarded the plaintiff $9.2 million.  That could pay for a significant amount of truth-telling serum.

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