Pinter-Brown v. The Regents of the University of CaliforniaAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against The Regents for gender discrimination based on a series of events that took place while she was a Professor of Medicine at UCLA. The jury found in favor of plaintiff, awarding her economic and noneconomic damages.
The Court of Appeal reversed and held that the trial court committed a series of grave errors that significantly prejudiced The Regents' right to a fair trial by an impartial judge. In this case, the trial court delivered a presentation to the jury highlighting major figures in the civil rights movement, and told the jury their duty was to stand in the shoes of Dr. Martin Luther King and bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice; the trial court allowed the jury to hear about and view a long list of discrimination complaints from across the entire University of California system that were not properly connected to plaintiff's circumstances or her theory of the case; the trial court allowed the jury to learn of the contents and conclusions of the Moreno Report, which documented racial discrimination occurring throughout the entire UCLA campus; and the trial court allowed plaintiff to resurrect a retaliation claim after the close of evidence despite having summarily adjudicated that very claim prior to trial. The court held that these errors were cumulative and highly prejudicial, and were evidence of the trial court's inability to remain impartial, creating the impression that the trial court was partial to plaintiff's claims.