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Landmark $95 Million Sexual Harassment Verdict

Published: Jul 20, 2016 in Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms, ranging from subtle sexual overtures to extreme examples of humiliation and degradation. Such behavior is unacceptable and you have the right to a safe work environment under state and federal laws. It is critical that you stand up for this right, and if you feel victimized, contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney right away.

For example, in Fairview Heights, Illinois a former female employee of Aaron Rents, Inc., which is a leader in furniture, electronics, and appliance leasing, claimed that her store manager inappropriately touched her, resulting in a sexual assault. When her attempts to report the manager’s behavior to superiors within the organization were largely ignored, she knew that she needed help. In an effort to highlight the company’s complicity and prevent others from enduring such actions, the woman sought out skilled legal counsel. She was jointly represented by The Cates Law Firm (now The Cates Law Firm, LLC) in Swansea, Illinois and the Morelli Ratner Law Firm in New York City.

Once retained, the woman’s skilled sexual harassment attorneys set to work on her behalf and filed a lawsuit against Aaron Rents, Inc. She received zealous representation, and her attorneys built a substantial case against her former employer for its egregious conduct. On June 9, 2011, after the evidence was presented, a jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (Docket No. 3:08-CV-00683-MJR) handed down a verdict of $13.5 million in compensatory damages, $80 million in punitive damages, and an additional $1.5 million in further compensatory damages for a total award of $95 million. With what was at the time the largest award in U.S. history involving sexual harassment, the client was pleased that her former employer was held accountable for their involvement and pledged to use the settlement to help other victims of sexual harassment and other women in difficult circumstances.