Vines v. O'Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLCAnnotate this Case
Vines sued under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Gov. Code, 12900, alleging he was a 59-year-old Black man who had been subjected during his employment with O’Reilly to discriminatory treatment and harassment by his supervisor and others because of his age and race. His supervisor allegedly created false and misleading reviews of Vines, yelled at him, and denied his requests for training given to younger, non-Black employees. Although Vines repeatedly complained to management, O’Reilly took no remedial action.
A jury awarded damages on his claims for retaliation and failure to prevent retaliation, Vines moved for an award of $809,681.25 in attorney fees. The trial court awarded only $129,540.44, based in part on its determination the unsuccessful discrimination and harassment claims were not sufficiently related or factually intertwined with the successful retaliation claims. The court of appeal reversed the post-judgment fee order and remanded for recalculation of Vines’s fee award. The trial court erred in finding the claims not sufficiently related or factually intertwined. Evidence of the facts regarding the alleged underlying discriminatory and harassing conduct about which Vines had complained was relevant to establish, for the retaliation cause of action, the reasonableness of his belief that conduct was unlawful.