The Los Angeles jury reached its decision regarding Troy Williams’ lawsuit against Ralphs Grocery Company, which had employed Williams for 27 years.
The jury ordered Ralphs to pay Williams $504,000 in economic damages and $300,001 in non-economic damages, for a total award of $804,001.
Williams, a 44-year-old African American man who worked as a receiver at the same Ralphs store in Torrance since he was 15, was accused of stealing a pack of lemonades he was purchasing for his son’s football team, and was fired as a result.
The jury found that Ralphs had defamed Williams by repeatedly spreading the false statement that Williams had “stolen,” despite evidence revealing that Ralphs had failed to use reasonable care to determine the truth or falsity of the statement. Williams, who had a history of making such purchases for his son and his teammates, was also falsely labeled, as the jury found, to have been “dishonest.”
During the trial, a Vice President for Ralphs testified that it was good for the company that Williams was being used as an example for not just the Torrance store, but for other stores as well, and that it is “important” that employees know that if they engage in theft, they will be terminated.
“It’s an honor to have had the opportunity to represent Mr. Williams, and we are so proud of the exemplary work of Anthony Nguyen, a Shareholder in our firm, in his efforts to reveal to the court just how egregiously Mr. Williams had been treated by his former employer,” said Shegerian & Associates founder Carney Shegerian. “Hopefully this sends a message to Ralphs and companies like them that they cannot treat loyal, hardworking employees such as Mr. Williams in this manner. Our client dedicated more than half of his life working for this company, who he thought of as family. To be betrayed and defamed as a thief is added tremendous insult to injury. While Mr. Williams can never regain the reputation he built in his 27-year profession, hopefully he can move on after this jury of his peers vindicated what he knew all along -- that he did not steal and did not deserve to have his name dragged through the mud as an example.”
Case # BC495977
Located in Santa Monica, Shegerian & Associates is a law firm specializing in litigating on behalf of employees who have been wronged by their employers or citizens who have suffered personal injury or wrongful death due to the negligence of others. Possessing an unparalleled success record as litigators (Carney Shegerian, Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner for 2013, has won 73 jury trials in his career, including 31 seven figure verdicts), Shegerian & Associates is passionately dedicated to serving the needs of its clients. For more information about the firm, visit www.ShegerianLaw.com
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