LCW Victory Named “2017 Top Verdict”

Category: Press Release
Date: Mar 1, 2018 02:24 PM

Fresno, CA (February,  2018) – We are excited to announce that LCW’s litigation victory on behalf of the City of Stockton has been named a “Top Verdict” of 2017 by the Daily Journal.  The matter was recognized as one of the most impactful defense verdicts of the year.

LCW Partner Jesse Maddox and Associate Attorney Kimberly Horiuchi won a complete defense verdict on behalf of the City of Stockton in a pregnancy discrimination and whistleblower retaliation lawsuit filed by the City’s former Manager of Violence Prevention.   The Daily Journal highlighted the defense’s strategy of inverting Ms. Glynn’s claims of discrimination by arguing to the jury that she was implicitly biased when she made stereotypical assumptions about her supervisor based on his religion.  The Daily Journal also noted that the defense team convinced the jury that since Ms. Glynn was not effective as the Violence Prevention Manager, it had to terminate her to insure that it could achieve the goal of reducing its crime rate.     

In October 2014, the City hired Plaintiff Jessica Glynn to be its first Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) Manager. The OVP was the brainchild of City Manager Kurt Wilson and tasked with assisting law enforcement in reducing violent crime in the City at that time. The OVP was funded in large part by a sales tax increase from the cash-strapped City’s residents because the rate of violent crime in Stockton was such a pressing issue for voters. 

When the City hired Glynn, she was approximately five months pregnant. She was terminated four months later due to incompatibility of management styles. Glynn alleged she was terminated because of her pregnancy and gender in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.  In addition, she alleged the City terminated her in retaliation for disclosure of information about City wrongdoing (i.e., whistleblower retaliation under California Labor Code section 1102.5). Prior to trial, Glynn demanded $650,000 to resolve the case. The City offered $50,000. At trial, Glynn sought $1.4 million in damages, plus her attorneys’ fees.

During trial, Glynn alleged that her direct supervisor, Assistant to the City Manager Christian Clegg, used sexist code to interfere with her job. When she informed him she was pregnant, Mr. Clegg told her that, for him, “family comes first.”  Glynn also inferred from Mr. Clegg’s religious affiliation that he believed she should stay at home with her baby.

The City presented evidence at trial that Glynn was not effective in her position and was a bad fit from the beginning of her employment. Despite never working in public service, Glynn demanded a higher salary and a title change from “Manager” to “Director” immediately after being hired. Although the City hired her at the top salary step, she continued to press for a higher salary, alleging Department Heads like the Chief of Police and the Public Works Director made more money than her.

The City also presented evidence that Glynn created turmoil among her subordinates, in part, by offering one of them a promotion without allowing others the opportunity to apply and expediting the retirement of a long-time City employee. Toward the end of her employment, Glynn missed a crucial filing deadline which precluded the City from receiving a $200,000 grant it had received the previous four years.

Glynn’s whistleblower retaliation claim stemmed from what she characterized as serious legal concerns pertaining to the manner in which the OVP operated. Despite being a supervisor and an attorney in other states, she never sought to verify that her concerns were accurate.

After a ten day trial, the Jury issued a unanimous defense verdict in favor of the City finding that neither Glynn’s pregnancy, gender, nor her disclosures of information contributed to the City’s decision to terminate her employment.


Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is a labor and employment law firm, which provides comprehensive, responsive, and highly competent legal advice, representation, litigation services, negotiations and training to public entities throughout California. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, and San Diego. For more information, visit our website:


Cynthia Weldon
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