Trials & Litigation

Judge says Ellen Pao owes $276K to venture capital firm in sex-discrimination case

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Former BigLaw associate Ellen Pao not only lost her sex-discrimination trial against a storied venture capital firm but refused a $1 million pretrial settlement offer.

So she owes Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers reimbursement for the firm’s costs and, potentially, attorney fees as well.

However, a San Francisco Superior Court judge cut the company’s $972,814 costs request significantly Wednesday, explaining that Pao’s assets, as interim CEO of Reddit, are dwarfed by Kleiner Perkins’ resources, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Most of the costs are for expert witness fees.

Tentatively ruling that Pao must pay only $276,966, Judge Harold Kahn cited the economic disparity between the parties and urged the parties to check his math. Under the state Fair Employment and Housing Act the court is required to weigh and “scale” each side’s economic resources, in an effort to be fair, USA Today reports.

“This tentative ruling recognizes that our settlement offer was reasonable and made in good faith. It also recognizes the cost rules still apply when a plaintiff refuses a reasonable settlement offer and forces the parties to go through an expensive trial,” a Kleiner Perkins representative told the newspaper.

Pao declined to comment to USA Today.

Related coverage: “Kleiner to Ellen Pao: Drop appeal or pay $1M in legal costs”

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