On August 5, 2013, a twelve person jury found Palm Desert real estate developer Suresh Shah guilty of sexually harassing Karen Moran. Ms. Moran was a former leasing agent for Shah and the mall manager at the Town Center Mall in Yucca Valley.
The jury awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages to Ms. Moran and imposed $1,000,000 in punitive damages against Mr. Shah. Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant's conduct is wilfull, malicious or in conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others, which the jury found in this case.
Ms. Moran introduced evidence at trial that Mr. Shah made unwanted requests for sexual favors in exchange for a raise in pay, that he sent her and other female employees numerous sexually explicit emails, and that he touched her inappropriately and directed vulgar, gender based language at her and other women employees over a period of many months. The jury found this conduct to be unwanted sexual harassment.
The case is Moran v. Suresh Shah, Case No. INC 087504 - Riverside County Superior Court, Palm Springs, California and was handled by attorneys Patrick McNicholas, Jason Oliver and John Dalton, who are not affiliated with The Rutten Law Firm, APC.