A Los Angeles judge has ordered a new trial for the "Price is Right" pregnancy lawsuit that resulted in a $7.7 million jury award for model Brandi Cochran.
Last November, Cochran won the multimillion-dollar payout in a discrimination lawsuit she brought against the producers of the show, FremantleMedia North America and The Price Is Right Productions. Cochran claimed that she was discriminated against because she was pregnant, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
However, a judge found that the jury had received bad jury instructions and ordered a new trial.
Brandi Cochran was a "Price Is Right" model for eight years. However, after she got pregnant in 2007, she says that show producers treated her differently and started to give her less work before she was eventually terminated. Cochran says that this caused stress to her and her baby, according to the Reporter.
In their defense, the show's producers argued that Cochran failed to produce any evidence proving that they didn't rehire her because of her pregnancy. In addition, the producers say they cannot be liable for discriminating against the model for her pregnancy-related depression, as they had no knowledge of the condition.
But prior to the jury deliberating the case, the judge apparently failed to instruct the jury on the necessary elements to find the producers liable.
In legal terms, Cochran's "Price Is Right" lawsuit was a "mixed motive" discrimination case, meaning her termination arguably may have been based on both discriminatory and nondiscriminatory reasons. In such a case, the judge is required to instruct jurors that the employer is only liable if the discrimination is a "substantial motivating reason" for the termination, and not just a "motivating reason," the Reporter explains.
As a result, there will be a new trial and a new jury will likely hear similar arguments. Only this time, jurors will (hopefully) get the correct instructions.
- Price Is Right Model's $7.7M Lawsuit Tossed (ABC News)
- Ex-'Price Is Right' Model Brandi Cochran Wins Maternity Suit (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- Model Shane Stirling Fired for Being Pregnant? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Court Clarifies Mixed-Motive Termination Burden Shifting (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)