Calif. court reverses $6.2M firefighter judgment

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A California appellate court on Thursday reversed a $6.2 million verdict against the city of Los Angeles in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a black lesbian firefighter.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal issued its decision in the case brought by Brenda Lee of Mission Hills, who sued the city alleging the fire department discriminated against her based on her race, gender and sexual orientation and refused to transfer her after she complained of harassment.

Lee claimed her superiors yelled and made derogatory comments about her and put her through grueling drills without proper safety precautions. She also claimed someone put urine in her mouthwash.

The 2007 jury payout was the largest in a string of settlements in cases that alleged discrimination and retaliation against women and minorities within the Los Angeles Fire Department. The cases have cost taxpayers more than $15 million since 2005.

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