Ritter & Associates Wins $1.5 Million Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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Dwight Ritter, of Ritter & Associates, has won a $1.5 million judgment for his client, Kimberli Hirst, a former phlebotomist for the Oceanside Police Department.

Mr. Ritter has expressed his hope that this judgment will encourage the city and the police department to review their sexual harassment policies and to improve the policies, if necessary.

Dwight Ritter, of Ritter & Associates, has won a $1.5 million judgment for his client, Kimberli Hirst, a former phlebotomist for the Oceanside Police Department (case number 37-2010-00-101050 cu-po-nc; court of record: Superior Court North County San Diego). According to court documents, Hirst was subject to repeated sexual harassment from officer Gil Garcia over a period of about 8 months. Garcia reportedly spoke to Hirst in a sexually suggestive manner over a period of time lasting from October of 2008 to Garcia’s firing in November, 2009.

In returning its verdict, the jury found the Oceanside Police Department to be 75% at fault and Garcia to be 25% at fault in allowing this type of harassment to occur. This is, in part, because Garcia’s harassment was carried out in his capacity as a police officer, a problem exacerbated by the fact that Hirst and Garcia often worked together in a locked room with few people present, and in part because the city allegedly failed to admonish Garcia in writing for more than five weeks after initially receiving the complaint (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/19/oceanside-police-harassment-judgment/).

Mr. Ritter has expressed his hope that this judgment will encourage the city and the police department to review their sexual harassment policies and to improve the policies, if necessary. He also stated that he hoped that the court would assess the entirety of the damages to the city, because of his belief that “[n]othing [Garcia] did was done as an individual. Everything he did, he did while working as a police officer.”

City Attorney John Mullen has stated his intention to appeal the case if a motion to set aside the jury’s verdict is not approved.

About Ritter & Associates

Ritter & Associates is a law firm based in San Diego, California, which handles a range of different legal issues, including workplace injuries, defective product damages, maritime injuries, and sexual harassment. To learn more about the law firm, visit their website at http://www.ritterlegal.com.

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