$8.5 Million may be Wrong Price for Game Show Model Fired over Pregnancy

Britney Buscaglia

Brandi Cochran, a model for “The Price is Right,” attempted to return to the show after her pregnancy leave, but instead, learned she had been terminated. In response, Cochran sued CBS Corp., CBS Television Network, RTL Group, FremantleMedia Ltd., FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions Inc. for pregnancy and disability discrimination. Her case proceeded to trial against FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions Inc., after the court dismissed her actions against the other defendants.

Cochran claimed that she suffered emotional distress from being wrongfully terminated from a job she had held for eight years, despite being able to perform her job duties. Plaintiff claimed the defendants acted with malice and/or reckless indifference of her rights, firing her due to an alleged “stigma” against pregnant models. Defendants denied these allegations, claiming that Plaintiff was never discriminated against and that she suffered no emotional distress from being fired.

The jury disagreed with the defense, awarding Plaintiff $8,546,384: $776,944 for compensatory damages, $175,000 for past emotional distress and $7,769,440 for punitive damages. However, based upon recent guidance from the state Supreme Court, Judge Kevin Brazile overturned the verdict, ruling that he failed to properly instruct the jury to decide whether pregnancy discrimination was a substantial factor behind Cochran's termination. Cochran’s attorney stated that he agrees with Judge Brazile’s ruling and expects the damage award at a subsequent trial to be even higher.
VERDICT: $8,546,384
STATUS: Overturned
VENUE: Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles

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