In the civil trial between former news anchor Sandra Maas and KUSI, the jury deliberated for less than two days before reaching a verdict.
While the jury was divided on the merits of Sandra Maas’ claims, they did give her over $1.5 million to cover the pay gap she experienced because of her gender, as well as her past and future lost wages and mental suffering.
It’s been almost four years, and I’m relieved and delighted,” Maas told shortly after the verdict. As one woman said, “I’m ecstatic; it’s a beautiful day for women, for people of color, and for fair pay.”
While Maas and her team of attorneys did not prevail on every count, they are calling the verdict a “resounding success” that should serve as a warning to employers. Maas expressed gratitude not just to the jury but also to the women and men journalists in the San Diego area who had supported her.
Those “who have been tremendously supportive and helping women achieve pay fairness,” she remarked. “I feel that it has happened to me here in San Diego, and I am glad for all of it,” she said, referring to the need for women to “work at it, but males must help us too.”
“I feel that the runway that women have in journalism and media is substantially less than men,” Josh Gruenberg, Maas’ attorney, said
“I was prepared for anything today,” Maas told CBS 8. “And it is worth it. I would do it all over again.”
During the trial, counsel for KUSI claimed that Maas’ male co-anchor was more experienced and worked harder than Maas.
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Punitive damages were not given because the jury could not find evidence of age or gender discrimination or willful misconduct on the part of KUSI. I set out to win, and I did so,” Maas proclaimed. Other women and men also achieved victory today.
“People who have been very supportive and helping women achieve pay equity,” she said. “Women have to work at it, but men have to help us too, and that I feel has happened to me here in San Diego, and I am grateful for all of it.”
“I feel that the runway that women have in news and in media is much less than men,” said Josh Gruenberg, Maas’ attorney.
Members of the jury have spoken about how they arrived at their verdict based on their impressions of how truthful each side was. Defendant’s side evidence “did not appear as plausible or true,” stated jury Ian Del Rosario. That’s really what it boiled down to, so there.
“It was clearly a case of discrimination and basically trying to railroad her,” added juror Marcy Fullylove.
“Always use your voice,” Maas said, when asked what message this verdict sends. “If you are silent, nothing will change.”
KUSI’s attorney, Ken Fitzgerald, told that his client was disheartened by the ruling but confident in an appeal.
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