A black former production supervisor for a Riverside County Waterworks manufacturing company was awarded $2.8 million Thursday by a Los Angeles jury that found he was discriminated against because of his race and that his employer failed to prevent his mistreatment.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury reached the verdict after about two days of deliberations in 56-year-old Rickey Moland’s lawsuit against McWane Inc., which does business in its Corona facility as Clow Valve Co.
The panel also found that the company acted with malice, oppression or fraud, triggering a second phase to determine whether punitive damages should be awarded to the Victorville resident. His attorney, Carney Shegerian, recommended that Moland is given an additional $23 million in punitive damages from McWane Inc. after presenting testimony that the company made $9.4 billion from 2011-16.
In his opening statement, Shegerian said Moland was called the “N” word and other racially offensive names in a case he said that sounded more like something from decades ago rather than 2012.
Moland began working for Clow Valve in June 2010 and was the first black supervisor to ever work at the facility, according to his court papers. One co-worker called Moland the “N” word as he was walking away from the plaintiff and two others regularly used the offensive term against him “and made it clear to Moland” that they “did not care for him,” according to Shegerian. Moland said he complained to management in February 2012, but nothing was done. Instead of addressing the “rampant racism” at Clow Valve, management fired Moland in 2012 after he endured “over a year of mistreatment and bigamy,” according to Shegerian.