Shaun Martin, University of San Diego School of Law
You hear about "out of control" verdicts all the time. Then there are decisions like this one.
Thomas Mangano sues his employer, Verity, for disability discrimination. He loses on summary judgment. And, three weeks later, Verity fires him.
Verity appeals the trial court's ruling. When it fired him, Verity offered Mangano 17 weeks of severance pay in return for a release, but the release would even let Mangano continue to litigate the soon-to-be-on-appeal disability discrimination case. But Mangano tells Verity to stuff it, and rejects the 17 weeks.
The Court of Appeal then affirms. But in the meantime, Mangano has filed yet another lawsuit against Verity; this time, for retaliation -- i.e., for firing him allegedly in response to the initial lawsuit. And Mangano successfully avoids summary judgment on this one, and gets to trial.
But loses. The jury finds that, nope, that's not why he was fired. And Mangano again appeals. But this one fares no better than the first one. Affirmed.
So Mangano's 0-2 and doesn't have his four months of pay. Plus he's got four-plus years of litigation and aggravation.
In retrospect, probably a bad call. If litigation's indeed a lottery, in this one, Mangano gets what most everyone gets in the actual lottery. Nothing. (Or, given the adverse cost awards, less than nothing.)