A Fresno jury on July 9 awarded former Fresno State volleyball coach Lindy Vivas $5,852,069 -- almost $2 million more than what she had asked for in her discrimination case against the university.
It was the largest amount awarded in a case against Fresno State.
"I think it validates what we've been saying happened at the university all these years," said Vivas, whose contract with the university was not renewed in 2004. "And I hope it shines a big light on the university -- all the way up to the chancellor's office."
In a statement, Fresno State said it would appeal and blamed the media for the verdict: "The excessive, and in some cases inaccurate, publicity surrounding this case in Fresno may have affected the result of this trial."
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The Fresno County Superior Court jury of nine women and three men found in Vivas' favor on 12 of 13 questions in the verdict, eight times unanimously.
Vivas had sued the university for $4.1 million, saying he lost her job because of her outspoken advocacy for gender equity in university sports and for her "perceived sexual orientation."
Vivas' suit is the first of three scheduled to be heard this year in court. The legal battles are expected to shed light on how Fresno State administrators have handled complaints of gender discrimination.
Former women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein and former associate athletic director Diane Milutinovich also have filed lawsuits that say they were fired for raising such concerns.
Here is an archive of The Bee's coverage of the Vivas civil trial.
- (7/14) Letter from CSU chancellor to state Sen. Florez
- (7/11) Text of letter from state Sen. Florez to CSU chancellor
- (7/10) Letter from state Sen. Dean Florez to Welty
- (7/10) President Welty's statement about verdict
- (7/9) University's statement about Vivas verdict
- (7/9) Court document of Vivas verdict