McMahon’s RV Loses Age Discrimination Suit
Editor’s Note: The following news release comes from John A. Belcher, principal of the law offices of John A. Belcher, who recently received a favorable verdict in the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif.
McMahon’s RV, an Irvine-based retailer of recreational vehicles, was hit with an age-discrimination verdict by an Orange County jury on Feb. 4.
The jury found that Robert Liemandt, a former employee of McMahon’s RV, was terminated in violation of public policy, and that age was a motivating factor in the termination. The total award against McMahon’s RV was over $300,000.
The jury also found that the conduct of McMahon’s RV toward Liemandt constituted oppression, fraud or malice, justifying punitive damages in the amount of $50,000.
Testimony in the case included a former employee who quoted Brent McMahon, the president of the company, as saying, “(Robert Liemandt) has had a heart attack, he’s a liability, we need to get rid of this guy.”
Another former employee quoted senior management at McMahon’s RV as saying, “We need to get rid of that old f***er.”
Before the trial, McMahon’s RV had advanced the defense that Liemandt was not entitled to any recovery because he had failed to follow “internal grievance procedures.” At trial, however, Brent McMahon admitted that at the time of the termination, there had been no “internal grievance procedures” in place. McMahon claimed that he had not read the verified discovery responses containing the defense.
In addition to finding against McMahon’s RV on the violation of public policy and age discrimination counts, the jury also found that McMahon’s RV had improperly withheld a commission due and payable to Liemandt, and that the failure to pay Liemandt his commission justified waiting time penalties under the labor code.
The findings of age discrimination, violation of public policy and denial of commission were unanimous verdicts by a 12-0 jury vote.
The case was tried before Judge Ronald Bauer.
Belcher commented that he was delighted with the verdict.