Former Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers won $7.1 million in an age and disability discrimination suit against the paper, reports Law360. Simers initially asked for $12.2 million, but the jury decided to give him “$330,358 for past economic damages, $1.8 million for future economic damages, $2.5 million for past non-economic damages and $2.5 million for future non-economic damages.”
Simers, 65, was at the Los Angeles Times from 1990 to 2013, before taking a job at the Orange County Register. During the six-week trial, Simers’s lawyers argued that the Times made his job a living hell after Simers suffered a minor stroke during spring training and was diagnosed with complex migraine syndrome, according to Courthouse News Service. He says he was suddenly subject to strict scrutiny from his editors that he’d never faced before, that his column was cut back from three to two days a week, and that the paper lined up says Dylan Hernandez (the Times’s Dodgers beat writer) to take his place.
But according to the Times, they demoted Simers because of the circumstances surrounding a video of his daughter and Dwight Howard—then the Lakers center—having a free throw shooting contest, which he also wrote about for the paper. They say Simers failed to mention to his editors that he had a business relationship with the producer of the video, who was pitching a television show based on Simers’s life, and wanted to use the video to promote his sports media company. When he was threatened with demotion over the brouhaha, Simers bolted to the rival paper.