LOS ANGELES -- A jury rejected claims by a former employee of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling that he fired her for turning down his sexual advances.
The jury determined that Sterling had not sexually harassed and
then retaliated against Sumner Davenport, hired by Sterling in 2001
as a property supervisor for apartments and other buildings owned
by his Beverly Hills Properties.
Sterling's lawyer, Bob Platt, said the Los Angeles County
Superior Court jury's verdict was ``a complete vindication.'' After
a nine-week trial, ``the jury found there was no merit to any of
her claims,'' indicating the panel believed Sterling's testimony
over Davenport's, Platt said.
Davenport alleged in her lawsuit that Sterling had tried to kiss
her and touch her breast, and once answered the door of his Malibu
home wearing only a towel and tried to hug her.
She said when she complained to her supervisor she was told to
stay out of Sterling's way. An internal company investigation
clearing Sterling of the allegations was ``a sham,'' her lawyer
Davenport also said she believed Sterling's company's had
racially prejudiced employment and housing practices. Platt denied
Sterling said in court records that Davenport got tired of her
job over her 11 months of employment, resulting in her
``vindictively hatching a scheme to discredit, harass and
embarrass'' him and his company. His legal team said she had tried
unsuccessfully to file a stress-related workers' compensation
John F. Denove, Davenport's attorney, said Friday the workers'
compensation issue was pending. He said he talked to jurors who
told him they didn't believe Sterling's account but believed
Sterling had corroborating evidence and that Davenport didn't.