Minami Tamaki awarded $5.3 million in attorneys’ fees for successful verdict in retaliation case against Sacramento Sheriff’s Department 

On September 14, 2016, a Sacramento judge awarded Minami Tamaki LLP and their co-counsel, the Law Offices of Jerry Chong and Alice Wong, $5.3 million in attorneys’ fees for their successful trial verdict on behalf of four female law enforcement officers of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

On May 17, 2016, after five weeks of trial and three days of deliberations, a jury found that our clients had suffered retaliation for speaking out about discrimination and sexual favoritism in the Department. The jury collectively awarded our clients – Annica Hagadorn, Dawn Douglas, Tracie Keillor, and Jodi Mendonca – over $3.5 million in economic and non-economic damages.

Our clients had complained to the Sheriff’s Department about gender and race discrimination in advancement opportunities and preferential treatment given to a female deputy who was romantically involved with a male captain. After their complaints, the careers of all four women were stalled and derailed.

The County’s request for a new trial was denied by the trial court in July 2016.

The trial court’s award of $5.3 million in attorneys’ fees includes a multiplier which judges can award for contingency cases that are litigated with exceptional skill and that serve an important public interest. The trial court recognized the difficulty of this case, the risk and sacrifices made to litigate this case for six years, and the important public interest of holding the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department accountable for its treatment of employees.

“The law protects the rights of employees to hold employment without experiencing unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The jury’s verdict and the court’s fee award in this case are vindication of our clients’ rights and their courage to bring this case to trial,” said Lisa Mak of Minami Tamaki.

“We are pleased that the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, a tax-funded agency, was held accountable for its actions. This case leaves a legacy of courage, sacrifice, and doing the right thing in the face of overwhelming challenges,” added Jerry Chong, of the Law Offices of Jerry Chong and Alice Wong.


About the Author