Attorneys for the Los Angeles Times and former sports columnist T.J. Simers are wrapping final arguments in his age-discrimination lawsuit against the paper. The trial has lasted six weeks (!) and in his arguments yesterday, Simers' attorney revised his ask for damages down to $12.3 million in damages. That's per Courthouse News, which has a story on Monday's proceedings. Excerpt:
During closing arguments, attorney Carney Shegerian told the jury of four men and eight women there was enough evidence that the Times had constructively fired Simers for them to rule in his favor.
"We all know the difference, in my humble opinion, when you are wanted and when you are not wanted," Shegerian said, as the 65-year-old former columnist sat in the courtroom with his family, including his wife Ginny and daughter Tracy.
The Times claims it demoted Simers after finding he used his column and an Internet video to promote a business run by a friend, with whom Simers hoped to develop a TV show.
Simers sued the Times two years ago, claiming it pulled the plug on his decades-long career after he suffered a minor stroke in Phoenix, where he was covering the Dodgers' and Anaheim Angels' spring training.
Simers claims he was later diagnosed with complex migraine syndrome, a "serious disability" that the Times used as an excuse to make working conditions miserable, putting his writing under increased scrutiny, cutting his columns from three to two a week and then exiling him to the assignment desk as a blogger.
Simers claims the newspaper wanted him out because of his age, and lined up a columnist who was roughly half his age, Dylan Hernandez, a Dodgers beat writer for the Times.
The Times, naturally, sees the dispute through a different lens.
Hmm, I think that's new about Dylan Hernandez being tapped to succeed Simers. The story also repeats that Simers was making $234,000 for the Times and when he moved to the Register, dropped down to a mere $190,000 annually. Here's the whole story.