Ellen Pao requested $US2.7 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to cover her fees and costs, court documents filed by the firm on Friday revealed.
This comes after Pao lost all counts of her case against the venture capital firm on March 27 when a jury found that her gender was not the motivating reason for her not being promoted to a general or senior partner, or for her termination.
So why is Pao asking for the money?
Since the court’s decision, Pao and KPCB have been disputing who should end up with the bill for the legal fees.
In a move typical for defendants who prevail in employment lawsuits, KPCB filed in April to recover $US973,000 in court fees, but said it would waive its legal costs if Pao gave up her right to appeal.
In May, Pao filed a motion to strike KPCB’s costs because she found them “grossly excessive and unreasonable.” The nearly $US973,000 in court costs includes nearly $US865,000 in expert witness fees. She also considered the firm’s settlement offer for $US964,000 in November 2014 a “bad faith offer”.
But Pao also offered, according to KCPB, to waive her rights to appeal in exchange for $US2.7 million to cover her own costs. Re/Code reported earlier this week that Pao had recently asked for the sum as a “play for leverage”.
“Pao is obligated, as a matter of law, to repay a portion of our legal costs. We have offered to waive these costs as a good faith attempt to bring this matter to a close,” said Christina Lee of Kleiner Perkins in an emailed statement. “In response, Pao demanded an additional $US2.7MM payment from KPCB in return for not appealing, despite the jury’s unequivocal verdict in our favour on all counts. We have no intention of accepting this unreasonable demand.”
Pao, who is now the interim CEO of Reddit, did not return a request for comment.
This week Pao filed a notice to appeal the case, but there’s no indication so far on what grounds she is appealing.
Judge Harold Kahn will hear both sides’ arguments over the cost on June 18.
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