April 25, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – After a two-week trial, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded $2.2 million to a paralegal who was subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of a senior attorney while they both worked for Fidelity National Financial Inc. On Friday, April 13, the jury awarded $250,000 for her general damages but found malice with respect to both corporate defendants on the claims for retaliation, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On Wednesday, April 25, the jury awarded another $1.95 million in punitive damages.
Soledad Albarracin was a paralegal with Fidelity who provided litigation support to attorneys which included drafting pleadings, subpoenas, discovery and preparing cases for trial. On the first day of a legal team retreat in Colorado Springs, defendant Robert Gardner Wilson was accused of following Ms. Albarracin back to her room and attempting to kiss her multiple times without her consent. After reporting his behavior to Fidelity management, Ms. Albarracin suffered further harassing behavior by Mr. Wilson and had to go on leave under orders from her doctor. The heads of the legal department provided no support to her, and ultimately claimed, “There are two sides to every story.” Finally, after performing a bare minimum investigation into the matter, Ms. Albarracin was let go from her job in November of 2015.
“When a billion-dollar company with the resources Fidelity has treats its employees the way they treated my client, it is a despicable event – as the jury found” said lead trial attorney Mike Arias. “My client did nothing wrong, had her safety and dignity put at risk by her boss and to make matters worse he was an attorney who should have known better.”
The jury found for Ms. Albarracin on her claims of retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.
The case is Soledad Albarracin v Robert Gardner Wilson, Fidelity National Management Services, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC642922.