On December 16, we obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client, Paramount Pictures Corporation, in a case brought by a former paralegal in the studio’s Business Affairs Administration department. The plaintiff claimed discrimination, constructive discharge and wrongful termination on the basis of her race. (The plaintiff was represented by Tom Girardi, who had previously represented Erin Brockovich.) Yarbrough v. Paramount Pictures Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 495673.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry A. Green dismissed the claims in their entirety, finding that the plaintiff failed to meet the legal standard for a hostile work environment because she had produced no evidence that she was the victim of discrimination or harassment based upon her race. During the hearing, the Judge stated that the evidence showed that Paramount “bent over backwards” to accommodate the plaintiff during her cancer treatments and while she was pursuing her MBA degree. The Judge noted that none of the alleged statements made by plaintiff’s supervisors to or about her were based on her race. (The plaintiff theorized that her supervisor was a “closet racist.”)
Plaintiff’s failure-to-promote claim was dismissed because she offered no admissible evidence that Paramount offered a promotion to anyone after the position was voluntarily vacated by another employee of the same race as the plaintiff. With respect to the constructive discharge claim, Judge Green sustained Paramount’s objections to declarations submitted by two former employees as being inadmissible hearsay and irrelevant evidence, and he noted that many places “might not be the nicest places to work,” but that does not mean there was any actionable conduct or that the plaintiff had been constructively discharged. Finally, the wrongful termination claim was found to be superfluous and was similarly dismissed.
Anthony J. Oncidi and Julia Brodsky represented Paramount Pictures in this matter, with assistance from paralegals Robert Linton, Olia Golinder, and Yena Kim.