Caldera v. California Department of Corr. & Rehab., 25 Cal. App. 5th 31 (2018)
Augustine Caldera is a correctional officer at a state prison who stutters when he speaks. Caldera alleged that the prison’s employees, including a supervisor, “mocked and mimicked” his stutter at least a dozen times over a period of two years. Caldera sued the CDCR for disability harassment, failure to prevent harassment and related claims, and a jury awarded Caldera $500,000 in emotional distress damages. The trial court found the damage award to be excessive and granted the employer’s motion for a new trial solely as to that issue. Both parties appealed, and the Court of Appeal in this opinion reversed the trial court’s new trial order but otherwise affirmed the $500,000 judgment in Caldera’s favor on the ground that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to support the judgment.