San Diego Firefighters Win $34,300 Gay Pride Harassment Judgment

A jury awarded four San Diego firefighters $34,300 in damages (to split between them) for harassment they claimed they suffered after being forced to participate in a Gay Pride parade in 2007:

Ghiotto“Jurors deliberated for about two-and-a-half days before reaching the verdict Tuesday in the case brought by firefighters John Ghiotto, Jason Hewitt, Alex Kane and Chad Allison. The firemen said they were subjected to sexually charged conduct and lewd comments while riding a fire engine in the July 2007 parade. City attorneys said they will appeal the verdict. Jurors were required to determine if the firefighters faced pervasive or severe harassment from spectators and participants. Nancy Chiquete, the jury foreperson, said reaching the decision was ‘not easy,’ particularly because she said she lives in the city and knows its financial situation is not good. But, Chiquete said, ‘I felt truly like these four men were wronged by the situation.’ The case was first heard in September but that jury was unable to reach a verdict on the sexual harassment claim. The jury did not know how much money the firefighters had asked for in the first trial, Chiquete said. She said that throughout the trial, the firefighters said they wanted to make a point and prevent the situation from happening to others and wanted to have the department’s policy changed. ‘So, I think in that sense, hopefully they got what they wanted,’ she said. The firefighters’ attorney, Charles LiMandri, said he and his clients were pleased.”

During the first trail, their attorney had asked for $1 million each for the firefighters.