Pao’s gender-bias case against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers closes as the venture capital firm says in a court filing that its award for court costs against her is resolved. The company says it has accepted a payment or performance other than the amount ordered by the judge.
Pao files to abandon her appeal.
Pao drops her appeal against Kleiner Perkins, saying she cannot afford the risk of incurring additional costs to fight the company. Pao says she has not reached a settlement with the firm and will pay some of its $275,000 legal fees.
This battle has been painful for me personally and professionally, and also for my family. It is time to move on. I look forward to continuing the conversation about workplace equality and to building great companies in the technology industry.
Kleiner Perkins said in a statement that it was glad to put the case behind it.
There is no question diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women and minorities in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry.
Judge Kahn rules Pao will have to pay $275,966 of $972,814 of Kleiner’s costs for expert fees, depositions, transcription and travel for expert witnesses it had incurred during the trial. Kahn allows most of Kleiner ‘s costs for jury food ($177.56), filing and motion fees ($240) and technology equipment rental ($7,196.). However, he notes that under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the scale of each parties’ economic resources should be considered, and as Kleiner has greater economic resources than Pao, he scales back its cost of expert witnesses. Kleiner says it is pleased with the result:
This tentative ruling recognizes that our settlement offer was reasonable and made in good faith. It also recognizes the cost rules still apply when a plaintiff refuses a reasonable settlement offer and forces the parties to go through an expensive trial.
Pao says Kleiner is improperly publicizing confidential negotiations and asking her to pay unreasonable legal costs. The filing says Pao should not have to pay Kleiner’s “gargantuan and unreasonable charges” of nearly $1 million for expert witnesses and trial expenses. Pao claims that her request for $2.7 million to cover her costs to forgo an appeal, was part of a confidential discussion between attorneys for the two sides, and not intended to be publicized. Kleiner’s attorneys say that it was Pao who made the case so expensive:
If counsel for plaintiff wanted the demand to be confidential he should have said so.
The Company says Pao demanded $2.7 million not to appeal the jury verdict against her. Kleiner’s lawyers also say that Pao can’t use the recent California Supreme Court ruling to invalidate Kleiner’s request for more than $800,000 in expert witness fees because she failed to accept “a reasonable settlement offer” before the lawsuit went to trial.
Pao cannot run up KPCB’s costs through an onslaught of allegations and discovery, and then object when she receives the bill.
They also argue she can afford the request:
Here, public policy clearly does not support reducing the expert fee award because of a low-income plaintiff. At the time Pao left KPCB she made $400,000 annually and regularly received annual bonuses over $100,000. She also received and continues to receive substantial sums in carried interest from KPCB funds. Pao is currently interim Chief Executive Officer at reddit where she makes over $200,000 annually and has millions of dollars in stock options. Pao and her husband own multiple residences.
Pao is obligated, as a matter of law, to repay a portion of our legal costs. We have offered to waive these costs as a good faith attempt to bring this matter to a close. In response, Pao demanded an additional $2.7M payment from KPCB in return for not appealing, despite the jury’s unequivocal verdict in our favor on all counts.
Pao has no comment.
After a further two hours deliberation, the jury says that Kleiner Perkins did not fire Pao on the the basis of her filing the current lawsuit. Pao:
I want to thank my family and friends and everyone, male and female, who has reached out to tell me their stories. I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it. My story is their story. If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it. Now it’s time for me to get back to my career.
Today’s verdict reaffirms that Ellen Pao’s claims have no legal merit. We are grateful to the jury for its careful examination of the facts. There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry.
After a 24 day trial, and two days of deliberations, the jury says it finds Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers innocent on all counts of sex discrimination against former employee Pao. However, when Judge Kahn asks each individual juror their decision, it is discovered that count 4 (was Pao terminated in response to her filing suit) has not been decided fully, having an 8-4 majority, instead of the 9-3 required, and the jury is told to go back. Kahn:
At this point ladies and gentlemen, I must ask you to resume your deliberations.
At Pao’s discrimination case, De Baubigny testifies that she has she has never been discriminated against at the firm, nor in her 14 years of venture experience, and that Pao is somewhat of an unpleasant complainer. She says Pao never talked to her about gender discrimination or retaliation. Describing her relationship with Pao as “mixed” she says of the company:
We feel very strongly that we have an opportunity and a responsibility on this issue [of women in tech] to do something about it. We very much want to ensure that more women build great careers
On Pao’s recruitment:
I had helped recruit Ellen to the firm. I really saw her as a person who could take her talents and apply them well. But consistently from the beginning her interpersonal relationships were troubled with many partners at the firm.
She says Pao’s quiet personality made it difficult to tell whether she had good ideas.
Ellen is an introvert. She was very quiet in meetings, so it was hard to really understand her points of view, whether she had original ideas and perspectives because she wasn’t forthcoming. And then on a one-on-one basis she could be very tough and very critical. In a small partnership it’s really important to build camaraderie, and that was difficult with Ellen.
She also rejected Pao’s testimony that she had called Ajit Nazre a sex addict.
That is completely ridiculous
Toward the end of Baubigny’s testimony, Kleiner lawyer Lynne Hermle asked her what she had meant by being “mortified” by an email Randy Komisar had posted around the firm:
I had written a blog piece for a website called Goop, about a day in the life of a working mama, and he published it around the firm and teased me about it. The website was started by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow — he was just teasing me — about things like having my hair done, all the things working women do